Lungi Ngidi blew away the Indian batting order with hard lengths and extra bounce while David Miller and Aiden Markram smashed fifties for South Africa to climb to top spot in Group 2 points table in Super 12s with a five-wicket victory over India in a thrilling match of the Men’s T20 World Cup at Perth Stadium on Sunday.
On a typically pacy and bouncy Perth pitch where bowlers called the shots, Ngidi’s 4/29, backed by Wayne Parnell’s 3/15 and Anrich Nortje’s 1/23 used the short ball to great effect to set the game up for South Africa by restricting India to 133/9, with Suryakumar Yadav being the lone ranger with a counter-attacking 68 off 40 balls.
In the chase, Miller (59 not out off 46 balls) and Markram (52 off 41 balls) rescued South Africa from a shaky 24/3, with India using fuller balls to good effect, with an excellent shift of gears to stitch a 76-run stand off 60 balls for the fourth wicket to complete the chase with two balls to spare. South Africa’s win also means that India were handed their first loss of the ongoing tournament.
Electing to bat first, after nine dot balls, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got off the mark with a six each. But Ngidi’s arrival in the fifth over changed the match as Rohit fell, miscuing a pull on a short ball back to the bowler. One brought two as Rahul nicked a back of the length ball to first slip.
Post power-play, Virat Kohli hit successive fours off Ngidi – a drive over extra cover was followed by a whip through mid-wicket. But Ngidi had the last laugh as Kohli tried to pull a bouncer and was caught by deep fine leg running to his right.
More trouble came for India as Deepak Hooda flashed hard at a wide ball from Nortje without any footwork, and sent a thin edge behind to the keeper in the eighth over. Hardik Pandya became Ngidi’s fourth victim in the ninth over, as his pull was caught by a forward diving Rabada at fine leg.
But Suryakumar fought hard, hitting six fours and three sixes at a strike-rate of 170 to bring up a brilliant fifty. He timed his range of shots well and shared a stand of 52 for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Karthik, who contributed with only six runs in the partnership, to lead India’s recovery from 49/5.
He whipped Nortje for six over backward square leg while cutting Keshav Maharaj behind point for four. With Maharaj not getting much turn, Suryakumar danced down the pitch to smack a straight six over the bowler’s head.
When Ngidi dropped short on the first ball of his final spell, Suryakumar moved across to get in line of the ball and pulled handsomely over fine leg. He then got his fifty in 30 balls with a straight drive past mid-on off Ngidi. But he ran out of partners from other end as Karthik and Ravichandran Ashwin fell. Though he miscued a pull on a slower ball to mid-off off Parnell in the 19th over, India managed to cross the 130-mark.
In defence of 134, Arshdeep Singh found the outside edge of Quinton de Kock’s drive and was caught at second slip. He then hit Rilee Rossouw on the back leg after missing a flick, which was reviewed and replays showed ball hitting top of leg and middle stump, giving Arshdeep his second wicket in three balls.
Temba Bavuma never looked comfortable at the crease and in a bid to make room to lap Mohammed Shami in the final over of power-play, he gave an inside edge to the keeper diving to his left.
Despite Markram finding delightful boundaries, twice off Arshdeep and one against Hardik, India’s bowlers kept the run-rate tight and were flawless with their lengths as well as extracting extra bounce as South Africa reached 40/3 in ten overs.
After the drinks break, Markram and Miller showed signs of changing gears as the duo took a four each off Pandya in a 16-run 11th over. Markram had a huge slice of luck at 35 when Kohli dropped a simple catch at deep mid-wicket and had another reprieve when Rohit missed an underarm direct hit at striker’s end in the next over.
Miller lofted Ashwin over long-off for six on the first ball of 14th over, followed by Markram dispatching him for six over long-on in a 17-run over. As Markram’s pull fell between two leg-side fielders in the deep, he got to his fifty in 37 balls.
His charmed life at the crease came to an end when he holed out to deep mid-wicket off Pandya in the 16th over. Miller smacked a brace of sixes – down the ground and over long-off off Ashwin’s first two balls in the 18th over.
But Ashwin struck back by trapping Tristan Stubbs lbw while trying to reverse-sweep. Miller went on to raise his fifty with a cracking cut through third man off Shami in the 19th over, before getting a glove edge on pull for four and smashing a cut over cover off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the final over to seal a win for South Africa.
Brief Scores: India 133/9 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 68; Lungi Ngidi 4/29, Wayne Parnell 3/15) lose to South Africa 137/5 in 19.4 overs (David Miller 59 not out, Aiden Markram 52; Arshdeep Singh 2/25, Mohammed Shami 1/13) by five wickets