The high powered Group B match between South Africa and India was expected to be batsmen paradise at Nagpur. Surprisingly 17 wickets fell and ONLY 596 runs were scored. Among the battle of chokers, Dhoni and Nehra gifted the almost-won match to South Africa.
The much-awaited domination of Steyn, Morkel and Co was thwarted by the Indian top order of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir. They prepared the platform for a score of minimum 375 runs and were set to run away with the match. But, the Powerplay from 39-43 overs saw Steyn and co showing their World Class bowling. Indian batsmen had a great batting collapse and fell like nine-pins losing 9 wickets for 30 runs and were bowled out in 49th over for 296 runs.
South African Batting
Despite the continuing woes of Smith against Zaheer and disciplined bowling during bowling poerpplay by Indian bowlers, South Africans continued the chase in a planned way. Kallis regained form, AB de Villiers added more to his supreme World Cup form, Amla’s 2010 form continued flowing in the WC matches and later the tailenders helped with Indian captain’s blunder and some shoddy bowling at the end chased the target in the last over with ease.
Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan Shine
The top order contributed 266 runs among the 296 total runs scored by India. Tendulkar reached his 6th World Cup and 48th ODI century and also became the first player to score 2000 ODI runs against South Africa. Zaheer and Harbhajan’s disciplined bowling helped India compete defending a paltry total of 296 in the pitch that was called as batsmen paradise and anything upto 350 runs was considered chaseable.
Steyn, Kallis, Amla and AB devastated India
Steyn was hit out of the park by Indian top order trio. But, after that he showed why he was the best fast bowler of the world taking 5 wickets and earning the player of the match award. Kallis, Amla and AB de Villiers built the inning with their half-centuries and kept South Africa in the match.
Dhoni’s Blunder and Nehra’s Pathetic Show
Dhoni appears to be in the habit of committing a blunder in crucial matches. Against England his bowling change in the end resulted in the tie. Being not a good learner resulted in him giving the last over to Nehra, who was not having a good day with the bowl, despite Harbhajan, pick of the Indian bowling, having left with 10th over. 13 runs were scored in the last over very easily by the tailender Peterson of the bowling of Nehra, who is considered to be one of the best Indian bowler.
Aggression or Over-Aggression!!
When AB de Villiers was caught on the bounday by Virat Kohli and Harbhajan, the Indian team was pumped up as it was a big breakthrough and opened the door of victory. But what followed was surprising. Kohli after taking the catch and Harbhajan being the bowler who took the wicket had few expletives for AB de Villiers. The same was repeated by Harbhajan after taking the wicket of Duminy, his Mumbai IPL teammate. One wonders why was that required!! AB and Duminy are such a genteleman they have hardly utterred a word against Harbhajan during the match and despite that such disgraceful behaviour. Aggression is good but expletives!!
India on the Edge
After this defeat against South Africa, India are on the verge of elimination. They have a must-win situation against West Indies in their last match. The quarterfinal race in Group B has put them almost out of knockout round now.
South Africa can top the Group B
After the victory against India, South Africa has two matches against the minnows, Ireland and Bangladesh. They need one win to reach QF and both win will put them on top of the table.