The despairing effort
T20 is not a format for regrets but South Africa had a massive one when Rohit Sharma offered a chance at the end of the fifth over. He pushed at a Marchant de Lange delivery that did not come on as well as other balls had been and lobbed it to where short cover would have been. De Lange managed to move that way in his follow through, stretched out his long arms, and even managed to get fingertips to it, but only managed to deflect the ball towards mid-off. De Lange ended up face down on the floor, grimacing. Had he known what Rohit was going to go on and do, he may have wished for it to open up and swallow him.
Kagiso Rabada was the only South African seamer whose opening spell was spared, his first two overs only costing 10 runs, and he was brought back on in the 13th over to try and pull things back. Rohit was having none of it and smacked Rabada for two sixes off this first four balls before being beaten by the youngster's pace off the fifth. Rabada thought that small victory was enough to taunt Rohit with what seemed like an instruction to "hit it." Rohit was having none of that either and showed Rabada back to his mark with an instruction of his own: "Go and bowl."
Rohit added insult to de Lange's injury when, at the end of the 15th over, he stepped into a sweet shot, over the bowler's head and into the stands to bring up his first international T20 century. Rohit became only the second Indian batsman to achieve the feat after Suresh Raina, whose hundred also came against South Africa five years ago at the World T20, and the 15th overall. His partner, Virat Kohli, was the first to celebrate, fist pumping in delight while Rohit raised his arms to the Dharamsala din.
The power and the glory
Contrasts rarely come more clearly than the one between AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla and sometimes, in the space of two balls, they remind us how different, but complementary they are. In the third over, de Villiers freed his arms to flat-bat a full, wide delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar for four. Two balls later, Amla pirouetted in his crease to whip Bhuvneshwar through backward square leg with all the finesse of a ballerina.
The change of pace
The previous ball, AB de Villiers had charged R Ashwin and whipped him sweetly to the midwicket boundary to bring up his fifty. Seeing de Villiers leave his crease again, Ashwin took pace off the ball. De Villiers looked to send the ball through mid-wicket once again but found himself in the wrong position. The ball hit his back thigh and deflected onto the stumps to give India the breakthrough they needed.
It was a frustrating outing for bowlers all round, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar who thought he had the wicket that could have sealed the win for India. In his third over, the 17th of the innings, Bhuvneshwar delivered a pinpoint yorker that JP Duminy flicked at and missed. It smacked him on the boot. Bhuvneshwar appealed vociferously but the umpire ignored him while the batsmen ran two leg byes. Replays showed Bhuvneshwar's irritation was well placed. When the pitch map was laid down, it revealed that the ball could have gone nowhere else but middle stump and Bhuvneshwar had been denied a big wicket.