South Africans speech­less af­ter tri­umph over In­dia

Townsville Bulletin - - Sports -

SOUTH Africa backed up pace­man Dale Steyn’s five-wicket burst with their bat­ting depth to end In­dia’s win­ning run with a thrilling three­wicket vic­tory in the World Cup on Satur­day.

Need­ing 13 to win in the last over off seamer Ashish Nehra, South Africa found an un­likely star in Robin Peter­son, who plun­dered 16 runs off the first four balls to help his side achieve their 297-run tar­get.

In­dia looked set to post a mam­moth to­tal at 1-267, fol­low­ing Sachin Ten­dulkar’s bril­liant 111 for his 48th one-day hun­dred, but lost their last nine wick­ets for just 29 runs in nine overs to be bowled out for 296.

Steyn ( 5-50) played a key role in his team’s fight­back to bag his maiden five-wicket haul in one-day in­ter­na­tion­als. In­dia had been hop­ing to wrap up a quar­ter-fi­nal place but still top Group B with seven points from five matches.

They are fol­lowed by West Indies ( 6/ 4), South Africa ( 6/ 4), Eng­land ( 5/ 5) and Bangladesh ( 4/ 4) as the pool heads for a thrilling con­clu­sion in the fi­nal week of round robin games.

‘‘ For 15 overs up front we took an ab­so­lute beat­ing, but for 75 we played some in­cred­i­ble cricket,’’ said South Africa skip­per Graeme Smith, whose team was crit­i­cised last week­end for not be­ing able to chase down a 172-run tar­get to beat Eng­land.

‘‘ Chas­ing 300 on that deck, sec­ond in­nings was a hell of an ef­fort and I think we’re all pretty speech­less at the mo­ment.’’

In­dia cap­tain

Ma­hen­dra

Singh Dhoni de­fended his team’s tac­tics in the lat­ter part of their in­nings when wick­ets col­lapsed and runs dried up.

‘‘ You don’t play for the crowds. They al­ways want you to hit sixes and fours,’’ he said.

‘‘ It’s al­ways bet­ter that the bats­men play the overs, de­lay the slog a bit and get maybe a par score and don’t look for that ex­tra 20 or 25 runs.’’

Jac­ques Kal­lis ( 69), Hashim Amla ( 61), AB de Vil­liers ( 52), Faf du Plessis ( 25 not out) and JP Du­miny ( 23) also con­trib­uted to the win.

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