INDIA set themselves up for the ICC treble of the World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20 when they beat the Blue Label Telecoms Proteas by six wickets with five balls to spare at Dhaka on Friday to qualify for Sunday’s World T20 Final against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas gave themselves every chance of winning the match when they scored 172/4 batting first after winning the toss for the first time in the tournament but the bowlers were unable to defend the target against the onslaught led by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane who scored 56 in the power play overs and then taken over by Man-of-the-Match, Virat Kohli, who appropriately scored the winning run after scoring an unbeaten 72 off 44 balls with five fours and two sixes.
The other key performer for India was their leading spinner, R. Ashwin, who had the stand-out bowling figures on either side of 3/22 in four overs. Every time MS Dhoni brought him back into the attack to get a key wicket, he obliged. These were the key wickets of Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers.
Du Plessis had given the Protea onslaught its intensity with his innings of 58 off 41 balls with five fours and two sixes and suffered an unlucky dismissal when he was bowled by a delivery that came off his chest after he slipped in the crease.
Du Plessis’ partnership with JP Duminy of 71 in nine overs for the third wicket included a golden spell of six overs when the Proteas made 69 between the ninth and 15th overs.
To defend that total the Proteas had to maintain the momentum when India started their chase but they were unable to do so when India scored at 10 an over for the first three overs.
They were then unable to make a major breakthrough in the middle overs and in the end India won quite comfortably.