India v South Africa, World t20 semi-final, Dhaka April 4, 2014

Trail goes cold for South Africa

Their failure at this stage was no mystery. South Africa haven't won a knockout game at a global tournament since 1998, perhaps the only puzzle was that they got so close
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South Africa have stuck doggedly to the scent throughout this World T20, like a hard-bitten gumshoe detective chasing up leads, scribbling down notes and piecing together clues. But this was a case too far for them. The trail went cold as Virat Kohli waltzed off through a crowded street scene with a twinkle in his eye, while Faf du Plessis and his men scoured the area to no avail. Catch me if you can.

They nearly solved the biggest mystery of all, their knack for being knocked out. This was a courageous attempt in unfamiliar conditions against a team that has yet to be really ruffled and a batsman in his pomp. India pulled off the highest successful run chase against South Africa in T20. Du Plessis' side had prevailed by single-run margins in their three previous games but they couldn't beat out a confession this time.

Unlike the South Africa teams of caricature, this was not a well-oiled machine that conked out on the first incline. Their issues were manifold and much discussed. Hashim Amla's proficiency as a T20 opener; AB de Villiers' best batting position; the purpose of Albie Morkel. Should Aaron Phangiso have got a game on the slowest wicket the team encountered? Which left-arm seamer would you give your right arm for?

The files of evidence were piling up for du Plessis, who like any good cop had problems of his own. Unfit for South Africa's opening game, he was suspended for overseeing a slow over rate in the next two. In the semi-final, he took a slug from his hip flask and batted with a streetwise aggression, dragging the innings through the first ten overs by its lapels and setting it up for further interrogation by his partner, de Villiers.

But they needed all the pieces of the jigsaw to fit together. De Villiers had pushed England out of the competition with a Catherine wheel 69 off 28 balls in his last innings but here he managed to hit a half-tracker to a man on the boundary. He walked off cursing. The stats, du Plessis has never tired of reiterating, say de Villiers performs best when he comes in after the tenth over. He arrived at 13.6 and departed at 15.3. You can't defenestrate India in that small a window.

JP Duminy, who came in at No. 4, finished unbeaten with 45 from 40. "Could AB have batted quicker than that?" wondered du Plessis afterwards, rhetorically. Plenty were ready to offer an answer. Duminy has batted everywhere from No. 3 to No. 6 at this tournament but his consistency helped South Africa through their group and 172 at least gave them something to bowl at - even if being only four down suggested some fuel remained in the tank.

With Steyn searching for wickets, India were able to steal boundaries. That meant they could be more circumspect against South Africa's one genuine slow-bowling threat, Imran Tahir.

Morkel was due to be the next man in, though a record of 33 runs from four previous innings did not promise much. At least he didn't bowl any wides in his two unremarkable overs. Dale Steyn, whose body could not on this occasion match his unbendable will, began with an errant delivery down the leg side - the first of nine conceded by five different bowlers - as South Africa's line of questioning wavered.

"If you're looking to win a World Cup it's really important that you do the small things and the basics well and that's definitely one of the things tonight that put us on the back foot," du Plessis said. "Nine extra balls, not just the extra runs but you have to consider the amount of runs that they score from that extra ball. So you're probably looking at a 15-20-run swing just by bowling nine wides.

"If you want to win close games, beat quality opposition like India, you've got to make sure you do those one percenters really well. When the pressure is really high, you can almost afford five wides but as soon as it goes to the nine-ten mark you're under pressure from the word go."

With Steyn searching for wickets, India were able to steal boundaries: Rohit Sharma's flat six and Yuvraj Singh's punch down the ground ruined otherwise tight overs. That meant they could be more circumspect against South Africa's one genuine slow-bowling threat, Imran Tahir.

"I think Imran bowled well, his figures were good," du Plessis said. "But obviously from a tactics point of view they made sure not to give him too many wickets because when he does get wickets his tail is up. It's hard to expect Dale every time to be a match-winner for us, he's also human. He's going to have days when he's not just cleaning guys up. Dale bowled well but the batsmen were up to the task and they played him very well. You have to give credit to them. Dale and Imran are our danger men, and India's batsmen handled them very well."

The hunch that Duminy's offspin might pick a lock or two was another curiosity. Du Plessis cited his ability to turn the ball away from India's left-handers but of his three overs, all but three deliveries were faced by right-handers (for the record, one those three did nearly pin Yuvraj lbw). Duminy opened the bowling because South Africa "felt there was a bit of grip"; Rohit and Ajinka Rahane took 14 off the over and India were away.

They were as good as home following the 17th, bowled by Wayne Parnell, as three boundaries leaked off the edges of Suresh Raina's bat. Parnell had replaced Steyn, to allow the latter to bowl the 18th and 20th overs. "If Steyn bowled the 17th and Parnell the 18th, you would have asked me the same question," du Plessis grimaced. The observations will remain on file but South Africa have been taken off the investigation.

Their failure at this stage was no mystery. South Africa haven't won a knockout game at a global tournament since 1998 (when they won the ICC Knockout Trophy, ironically). Perhaps the only puzzle was that they got so close.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SebV on April 6, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Although you can't argue with the point about the one percenters consider this: Faf says "Nine extra balls, not just the extra runs but you have to consider the amount of runs that they score from that extra ball." No you don't. If those balls weren't wides, they're not necessarily going to be dots ... meaning runs would probably be scored off them just like those off the extra balls that Faf is referring to. It's only the runs awarded for wides that should be taken into account.

  • Nampally on April 5, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    The only thing I would have differently for SA was to start with 2 overs from Steyn - the best seamer in the world today. That would have helped if he kept the opening batsmen restricted to 6 runs/over. SA's strength is in pace bowlers. Parnell & steyn must use the new ball to make the most of their strength. They can both keep one over each in the death overs. T20 is also a game of strategies & bringing your strength to the fore. Today Mishra was off colour & Dhoni had him bowling just 3 overs. In fact Dhoni also made some tactical errors but got away with them. He had the chance to keep Ashwin on after his super first over. But inexplicably he replaced Ashwin with Raina. But Ashwin got rid of AB de Velliers later on a long hop! Perhaps Dhoni wanted to hold off Ashwin for this match up - hence it paid off later. So Luck also played a big role in this. But judging overall, India played well as a team & kohli had nerves of steel to battle right thru' blocking off one end @ S/R of 163!

  • on April 5, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    What a very well written and clever article - thank you Alan Gardner for a great read!

  • on April 5, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetian I half agree, and half disagree. If you look at Australia during world cups they did in fact lose games - in the '99 world cups they nearly didn't get to the second round, and then tied with South Africa. In fact South Africa didn't lose a world cup game for at 3 world cups (always NRR that chucked them out). And during the so-called Australia great era, South Africa beat them numerous times in series including in their own back-yard. And it was Australia's record against other teams that always kept them first and South Africa second in rankings. Also South Africa's record (granted in longer formats of the game) is stellar against all teams, and probably worse against the minnows. The problem lies somewhere else. If I had to guess, it's still a culture of control and caution that stems from the high-school age, and an inability to find death bowlers (even Donald was always troubled at the death) which shows where the focus has been culturally.

  • on April 5, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    SA can win only if they make Devilliers bat at 3

  • steve48 on April 5, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Sadly, South Africa managed a different type of choke by playing too safe! Needed scoreboard pressure with an attack not really suited to conditions and a genuine bowler light. Yes JP was solid, but how can you bat ABD at 5? If India had played Kholi at 5, they would have struggled! I basically don't understand why, in T20, batting orders aren't simply top loaded, giving time to the best players. Sure its good to have a finisher, but players as good as AB and Kholi are not playing Russian roulette with their wickets, they are class and can just as easily play finisher from 3 as 5! Waste of their one world class batsman, shame, cos 190 would have really tested India. Some things are hindsight, others hit you smack in the face!

  • on April 5, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    This generation has problem of respecting the mediocre & taking superb for granted.

    SA despite having no 1 & 2 ICC ranked so called class batsmen Amla, DeVilliers & no 1, 2 ,3 ICC ranked bowlers has failed to even make it to final of any ICC event shows only 1 thing that SA's so called greats r just overrated chokers who fail to perform when it matters the most: in big games.They have boosted their stats in low profile bilateral series & fail miserably in big games when opposition is serious.

    True greats rise to the big occasion, like Aussie greats made AUS win 3 consecutive WCs including a total of 6 consecutive SFs QFs & finals without losing a single game in those WCs. ..The big match player of all time: Tendulkar was highest scorer in 2 WCs,2nd highest in 3rd & was Man of the Match in 6 out of 9 Tournament finals that Ind won while he was in the team, with superior avg of 50+ in WCs & tournament finals. No other batsman has tournament final & WC record even barely close to him.

  • on April 5, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Lovely piece of writing. The allegory of a police investigation. Keep it up, Alan

  • Shanks... on April 5, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Winning against South Africa in a world tournament is kinda like a child's play. As the curse of World tournament continues for them.

  • on April 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    They were as good as home following the 17th, bowled by Wayne Parnell, as three boundaries leaked off the edges of Suresh Raina's bat. Parnell had replaced Steyn

    That says it all he is if anything, consistant consistant @crap bowling & it has been shown time & time again. When came on to bowl I turned off the TV because the loss of the match then was a foregone conclusion!

    The Proteas need better openers more prolific opening batsme, no offence to Albie but he is past his prime as a bowler, not his fault that he wasn't selected or used appropiately blame the selectors whom haven't a continental clue about what is needed.

    We need a better T20 Captain too as Captain plod along doesn't have the skills to challenge his team to be better!

  • SebV on April 6, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Although you can't argue with the point about the one percenters consider this: Faf says "Nine extra balls, not just the extra runs but you have to consider the amount of runs that they score from that extra ball." No you don't. If those balls weren't wides, they're not necessarily going to be dots ... meaning runs would probably be scored off them just like those off the extra balls that Faf is referring to. It's only the runs awarded for wides that should be taken into account.

  • Nampally on April 5, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    The only thing I would have differently for SA was to start with 2 overs from Steyn - the best seamer in the world today. That would have helped if he kept the opening batsmen restricted to 6 runs/over. SA's strength is in pace bowlers. Parnell & steyn must use the new ball to make the most of their strength. They can both keep one over each in the death overs. T20 is also a game of strategies & bringing your strength to the fore. Today Mishra was off colour & Dhoni had him bowling just 3 overs. In fact Dhoni also made some tactical errors but got away with them. He had the chance to keep Ashwin on after his super first over. But inexplicably he replaced Ashwin with Raina. But Ashwin got rid of AB de Velliers later on a long hop! Perhaps Dhoni wanted to hold off Ashwin for this match up - hence it paid off later. So Luck also played a big role in this. But judging overall, India played well as a team & kohli had nerves of steel to battle right thru' blocking off one end @ S/R of 163!

  • on April 5, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    What a very well written and clever article - thank you Alan Gardner for a great read!

  • on April 5, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetian I half agree, and half disagree. If you look at Australia during world cups they did in fact lose games - in the '99 world cups they nearly didn't get to the second round, and then tied with South Africa. In fact South Africa didn't lose a world cup game for at 3 world cups (always NRR that chucked them out). And during the so-called Australia great era, South Africa beat them numerous times in series including in their own back-yard. And it was Australia's record against other teams that always kept them first and South Africa second in rankings. Also South Africa's record (granted in longer formats of the game) is stellar against all teams, and probably worse against the minnows. The problem lies somewhere else. If I had to guess, it's still a culture of control and caution that stems from the high-school age, and an inability to find death bowlers (even Donald was always troubled at the death) which shows where the focus has been culturally.

  • on April 5, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    SA can win only if they make Devilliers bat at 3

  • steve48 on April 5, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Sadly, South Africa managed a different type of choke by playing too safe! Needed scoreboard pressure with an attack not really suited to conditions and a genuine bowler light. Yes JP was solid, but how can you bat ABD at 5? If India had played Kholi at 5, they would have struggled! I basically don't understand why, in T20, batting orders aren't simply top loaded, giving time to the best players. Sure its good to have a finisher, but players as good as AB and Kholi are not playing Russian roulette with their wickets, they are class and can just as easily play finisher from 3 as 5! Waste of their one world class batsman, shame, cos 190 would have really tested India. Some things are hindsight, others hit you smack in the face!

  • on April 5, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    This generation has problem of respecting the mediocre & taking superb for granted.

    SA despite having no 1 & 2 ICC ranked so called class batsmen Amla, DeVilliers & no 1, 2 ,3 ICC ranked bowlers has failed to even make it to final of any ICC event shows only 1 thing that SA's so called greats r just overrated chokers who fail to perform when it matters the most: in big games.They have boosted their stats in low profile bilateral series & fail miserably in big games when opposition is serious.

    True greats rise to the big occasion, like Aussie greats made AUS win 3 consecutive WCs including a total of 6 consecutive SFs QFs & finals without losing a single game in those WCs. ..The big match player of all time: Tendulkar was highest scorer in 2 WCs,2nd highest in 3rd & was Man of the Match in 6 out of 9 Tournament finals that Ind won while he was in the team, with superior avg of 50+ in WCs & tournament finals. No other batsman has tournament final & WC record even barely close to him.

  • on April 5, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Lovely piece of writing. The allegory of a police investigation. Keep it up, Alan

  • Shanks... on April 5, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Winning against South Africa in a world tournament is kinda like a child's play. As the curse of World tournament continues for them.

  • on April 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    They were as good as home following the 17th, bowled by Wayne Parnell, as three boundaries leaked off the edges of Suresh Raina's bat. Parnell had replaced Steyn

    That says it all he is if anything, consistant consistant @crap bowling & it has been shown time & time again. When came on to bowl I turned off the TV because the loss of the match then was a foregone conclusion!

    The Proteas need better openers more prolific opening batsme, no offence to Albie but he is past his prime as a bowler, not his fault that he wasn't selected or used appropiately blame the selectors whom haven't a continental clue about what is needed.

    We need a better T20 Captain too as Captain plod along doesn't have the skills to challenge his team to be better!

  • soumyas on April 5, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    Dumni shouldn't have opened the bowling... Morne Morkel should have played instead of Albei since they already have very good batsmen, Steyn should have opened bowling with morne, that would have kept Indian openers tied, they wudn't dare to take chances against Steyn,Morne. by this they cud have controlled first 6 overs power play score within 40's...which will put too much pressure on remaining batsmen, also SA gave some easy singles... didn't keep fielders in attaching catching positions... Even after doing all these things, SA win is not confirmed considering Kohli's brilliance and SA's bad luck history...

  • on April 5, 2014, 6:21 GMT

    SA played very well but they got their bowling tactics terribly wrong... I bet steyn would have knocked off the openers early if he had opened the bowling with morne morkel.... morne despite his poor performances was a better bet than bueran hendericks against India....steyn morkel and albie would have been a much better opening ploy... then they could have shuffled between duminy and tahir in the middle overs... anyway all looks good in hindsight and India simply outplayed SA! kudos

  • soumyas on April 5, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Of course it is a bad feeling for SA players, but most of them are going to play in IPL very soon, all who play will forget it...

  • saurabh21iitr on April 5, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    I thought decision to open the bowling with Duminy was good as Rohit has difficulty handling deliveries, from spinners, that comes in to him. In the first over itself Duminy induced an outside edge and had there been a slip he would have been gone. If that would have happened, they would have introduced Steyn straightaway. If anything has to be criticised about Faf's captaincy was his field placing. He should have known that most Indian batsmen are in form and the only way to win the match is by taking early wickets.

  • on April 5, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    South Africa batted really well, their bowling was the problem and even then, it wasn't that bad apart from 2 or 3 overs. Maybe they'll have better luck next year.

  • on April 5, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    despite performing well today tough luck for team SA. and congrats to team India. once again @imVkohli does it for India. good luck for the Sunday game. and just be best to yourself.

  • on April 5, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    it was good game by both sides. as being Indian fan always prefer India to win. but SA team has a really bad luck in semis. despite today's great performance it isn't their time yet to lift up trophy. better luck next time guys. and as always @iamVkohli is the man who took India through "again". hopefully he wont be burdened out like " little master". coz now every game we expect him to score some runs n win for team India. no doubt he is the best one out there at this moment but we should not expect same thing in every game. lots respect for him n i wish @imVkohli is the one who holds another great batting records in all formats. good luck to team India for Sunday.

  • balajik1968 on April 5, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    I did'nt see the SAF innings, but I thought the Indian innings was well paced. There were four partnerships, which put the game India's way. Kohli's innings was impressive. Starting slowly, gauging the wicket, and then opening out but also rotating the strike. This was a very mature innings.

  • on April 5, 2014, 2:12 GMT

    Wonderful day for indians despite a bad day for Mishra and Mohit Sharma. Yuvi was still stuck and needs to get going better. SL spin attack is not as capable as india's but still it is very very formidable which yuvi might get difficult going. In short india have edge both in batting and spin bowling but pace attack of SL is slightly superior. On the other hand SL have been winning in Bangladesh for many weeks now and would like to end on a high.

  • sweetspot on April 5, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    Come on Sir! Let's not be so harsh. The Proteas did play well for most part. Of course we are all wise in hindsight, but on this occasion, they were simply beaten by the better team on the day. Slightly different conditions, and who knows? Things could have been different. Somewhere, I do think there is too much planning going on for the one thing one can blame SA for is not being creative as a team in its approach. Other than that, SA, even with those wides, didn't do too much wrong.

  • JewelJoseph on April 5, 2014, 0:34 GMT

    I dont understand the fuss about Amla's proficiency as a T20 opener!23,41,43,56 & 22 were his scores in last 5 innings.True,he was slow in the first,scored at run a ball in second,but others were scored at a very good strike rate.South Africa faltered in many ways and India batted exceptionally. These are some factors I think that were crucial. 1.AB should have batted higher.He is such a talent,but asking him to innovate from ball 1 is not fair.He is their best batsman too. 2.Over the years,India's weakness always has been genuine pace.Somebody like Morne,even in bad form could have been handy.Albe didnt pose a threat at all. 3.Steyn should have opened the bowling and attacked straight away.Opening with Duminy and Albe gave Indian openers time to settle down. Above all,SA didn't look confident,may be thoughts about India's spin threat and their own past demons were playing in their minds.India batted wonderfully well.

  • on April 4, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    I think SA were going pretty strong and were in fact favourites half way mark. it was an extraordinary efforts from Indian batsman specially from Kohli. Love this guy for his batting ability. SA well played and India deserved win. it will b a great final now.

  • on April 4, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    worse captecy to start with the jp opening over.

  • Nampally on April 4, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    SA need not feel bad about their effort. They were simply vanquished by India which rose to the occasion as one Man & played as a team. With such super Team work they would have beaten any team in the World on this day! Chasing 172 in 20 overs against well balanced world class bowlers is not a joke. India paced the chase to perfection & played very responsibly. Firstly India restricted SA to 172 by good bowling led by Ashwin to subdue the might of 5 biggest hitters in the T20. That itself deserves kudos. Then the chase of such a big total. India & SA are the 2 best teams in 2014 T20 WC. So this match was of very high quality + battle of strategies. Indian Flying start+ good middle batting + a superb onslaught by Raina in 17th over + Kohli at his best to play sheet anchor of 72*@ SR 163- All these items fall into place & in right grooves once in a while. India made this happen on this day because they played with Guts & expertise of Winners. Undoubtedly a better team won today!Congrats

  • DalviDaDhaba on April 4, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    South Africa should have won. 172 was about 20 above par for the surface. Selection wise - Phangiso should have played. Steyn and Parnell to open and a couple from Hendrinks in the first 6. In the middle, Duminy, Tahir and Phangiso. The quicks for the last 4-5. One needs to get cute when there are lack of resources. Not when you have the world's best fast bowler, two 140+ quicks and couple of decent spinners.

  • Temuzin on April 4, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    India in subcontinent is a champion team. Hard to beat. They have that aura of invincibility playing in familiar condition and the self belief that they can chase down any target presented to them. India 's main problem is lack of a dale steyn class fast bowler. That hurts them in overseas conditions. Opposition knowing well India has no Johnson or steyn prepares a really fast and bouncy wicket to challenge Indian batting might. They know that India cant answer pace with pace and with mediocre pace bowling opposition batsmen always come on top. One steyn in Indian team will change the equation and that will make India hard to beat any where.

  • on April 4, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    You are being too hard on SAF. Barring the odd slips in the field today, Indians were practically invicible throughout the series. Pak, Aus, WI all were reduced to powder by this Indian side. Bowling is great (although Mishra had an off day today) and Batting is extraordinary. SAF didn't simply have enough firepower to beat this Indian side. Barring a mental freeze in the finals, this team should breeze towards the trophy.

  • on April 4, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    i would have played phangiso instead of dekock.. and let ABD take wickets. indian batsmen were using the pace from the quicks to convert into runs. one more icc tournament. one more semi final loss.. maybe next year in aus where pitches will favour the south africans

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  • on April 4, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    i would have played phangiso instead of dekock.. and let ABD take wickets. indian batsmen were using the pace from the quicks to convert into runs. one more icc tournament. one more semi final loss.. maybe next year in aus where pitches will favour the south africans

  • on April 4, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    You are being too hard on SAF. Barring the odd slips in the field today, Indians were practically invicible throughout the series. Pak, Aus, WI all were reduced to powder by this Indian side. Bowling is great (although Mishra had an off day today) and Batting is extraordinary. SAF didn't simply have enough firepower to beat this Indian side. Barring a mental freeze in the finals, this team should breeze towards the trophy.

  • Temuzin on April 4, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    India in subcontinent is a champion team. Hard to beat. They have that aura of invincibility playing in familiar condition and the self belief that they can chase down any target presented to them. India 's main problem is lack of a dale steyn class fast bowler. That hurts them in overseas conditions. Opposition knowing well India has no Johnson or steyn prepares a really fast and bouncy wicket to challenge Indian batting might. They know that India cant answer pace with pace and with mediocre pace bowling opposition batsmen always come on top. One steyn in Indian team will change the equation and that will make India hard to beat any where.

  • DalviDaDhaba on April 4, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    South Africa should have won. 172 was about 20 above par for the surface. Selection wise - Phangiso should have played. Steyn and Parnell to open and a couple from Hendrinks in the first 6. In the middle, Duminy, Tahir and Phangiso. The quicks for the last 4-5. One needs to get cute when there are lack of resources. Not when you have the world's best fast bowler, two 140+ quicks and couple of decent spinners.

  • Nampally on April 4, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    SA need not feel bad about their effort. They were simply vanquished by India which rose to the occasion as one Man & played as a team. With such super Team work they would have beaten any team in the World on this day! Chasing 172 in 20 overs against well balanced world class bowlers is not a joke. India paced the chase to perfection & played very responsibly. Firstly India restricted SA to 172 by good bowling led by Ashwin to subdue the might of 5 biggest hitters in the T20. That itself deserves kudos. Then the chase of such a big total. India & SA are the 2 best teams in 2014 T20 WC. So this match was of very high quality + battle of strategies. Indian Flying start+ good middle batting + a superb onslaught by Raina in 17th over + Kohli at his best to play sheet anchor of 72*@ SR 163- All these items fall into place & in right grooves once in a while. India made this happen on this day because they played with Guts & expertise of Winners. Undoubtedly a better team won today!Congrats

  • on April 4, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    worse captecy to start with the jp opening over.

  • on April 4, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    I think SA were going pretty strong and were in fact favourites half way mark. it was an extraordinary efforts from Indian batsman specially from Kohli. Love this guy for his batting ability. SA well played and India deserved win. it will b a great final now.

  • JewelJoseph on April 5, 2014, 0:34 GMT

    I dont understand the fuss about Amla's proficiency as a T20 opener!23,41,43,56 & 22 were his scores in last 5 innings.True,he was slow in the first,scored at run a ball in second,but others were scored at a very good strike rate.South Africa faltered in many ways and India batted exceptionally. These are some factors I think that were crucial. 1.AB should have batted higher.He is such a talent,but asking him to innovate from ball 1 is not fair.He is their best batsman too. 2.Over the years,India's weakness always has been genuine pace.Somebody like Morne,even in bad form could have been handy.Albe didnt pose a threat at all. 3.Steyn should have opened the bowling and attacked straight away.Opening with Duminy and Albe gave Indian openers time to settle down. Above all,SA didn't look confident,may be thoughts about India's spin threat and their own past demons were playing in their minds.India batted wonderfully well.

  • sweetspot on April 5, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    Come on Sir! Let's not be so harsh. The Proteas did play well for most part. Of course we are all wise in hindsight, but on this occasion, they were simply beaten by the better team on the day. Slightly different conditions, and who knows? Things could have been different. Somewhere, I do think there is too much planning going on for the one thing one can blame SA for is not being creative as a team in its approach. Other than that, SA, even with those wides, didn't do too much wrong.

  • on April 5, 2014, 2:12 GMT

    Wonderful day for indians despite a bad day for Mishra and Mohit Sharma. Yuvi was still stuck and needs to get going better. SL spin attack is not as capable as india's but still it is very very formidable which yuvi might get difficult going. In short india have edge both in batting and spin bowling but pace attack of SL is slightly superior. On the other hand SL have been winning in Bangladesh for many weeks now and would like to end on a high.