Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Champions Trophy: High intensity against SA augurs well for defending champs India

India's captain Virat Kohli and India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar discuss during the ICC Champions Trophy match between South Africa and India at The Oval in London India cruise into Champions Trophy semi-finals
Nellie Chapman | 20 June, 2017, 02:14

India chased down the target in 38 overs with eight wickets to spare and entered the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy for the fifth time. And the primary reason for that victory was South Africa's suicidal running between the wickets.

Even as questions over his captaincy continue to pop up, AB de Villiers will lead South Africa's T20 squad in three matches against England in the absence of Faf du Plessis, who will return home for the birth of his first child.

"I suppose, after that moment, Dave (Miller) came in and we discussed that it is extremely loud out there and hard to hear each other so the communication between the two of us was just for the next five overs, just play it as risk-free as possible".

It was the inclusion of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin that gave the bowling attack the cutting edge.

De Villiers, captain of South Africa's one-day worldwide side, will stand in for the three-match T20 series as du Plessis flies home for the birth of his first child, following the Proteas' elimination from the Champions Trophy.

Sri Lanka are having to shore up their top order after injuries saw both Chamara Kapugedera and Kusal Perera ruled out of the remainder of the Champions Trophy, while vice-captain Upul Tharanga, an experienced batsman, is completing a two-game ban.

India's latest new-ball pairing of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a hit.

"It's always good to get him out early, he can hurt you", Kohli said of De Villiers. From 140/2 in the 29th over, South Africa collapsed to 191 all out in 44.3 overs. Rohit Sharma then put his foot down to score runs in the way India would prefer, sending an on-drive for four before a six off the next of Rabada's deliveries. No one said it's going to be easy.

The Indian bowlers completely dominated the South African batsmen to register a memorable win for India.

That is precisely what this India side do so well under Virat Kohli. Dhawan scored his fourth half century in the tournament and third consecutive fifty-plus score.

Dismayed by South Africa's capitulation, former skipper Graeme Smith said the Proteas were simply "unrecognisable" during their timid loss to India in the do-or-die Champions Trophy clash.

"When the opportunity comes your way, you have to grab it. I can take this team forward". I believe we're the very close unit. "India played the game with more intensity, it took more risks and stuck to its method and game formula far better than the South Africa team", he explained.

"Not a lot of people believe that but I think that (winning a tournament) is not that far away", the 33-year-old said.