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Ngidi blows away India’s top order as South Africa win in final over — 5 key takeaways

The T20 World Cup match was another final over finish but with India on the losing side as South Africa chased down India’s modest target of 134 by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare.

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New Delhi: With numerous rain-affected games and abandonments affecting the business end of the Men’s T20 World Cup, India’s encounter on Sunday evening against South Africa at Perth Stadium was set to spell crucial ramifications for the rest of their Super 12 group. The match itself was yet another final over finish but with India on the losing side as South Africa chased down India’s modest target of 134 by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare.

The victory takes South Africa to the top of their Super 12 group, with the Proteas having collected 5 points from their 3 games so far. India, on the other hand, fell to second place with 4 points. Both teams stand as favourites to qualify for the semifinals, with South Africa facing Pakistan and the Netherlands in their remaining games while India will take on Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

ThePrint takes a look at some salient talking points from India’s defeat at Perth.

1. Lungi Ngidi’s dream spell left India reeling early

With the threat of Perth’s heightened pace and bounce and similarity to South African pitches evident from the previous matches in this tournament, the Men in Blue looked to get off to a steady start in the powerplay. Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul both got off the mark by hitting sixes but struggled to rotate the strike for the most part and fell in the same over to Lungi Ngidi. The South African seamer doesn’t bowl as fast as his teammates Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and is known more for his slower balls and cutters in this format. However, he made the most of the pitch compared to his peers and regularly threatened India’s top order both during and after the powerplay. While his economy rate was hurt by some late hitting from Suryakumar Yadav, his repeated use of the short ball to effective results, removing both Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, summed up his spell as a T20 World Cup classic.

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi celebrates the dismissal of India's KL Rahul at Perth Stadium | ANI Photo
South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi celebrates the dismissal of India’s KL Rahul at Perth Stadium | ANI Photo

2. Wayne Parnell keeps it tight and closes it out

While Ngidi was the star of the show, the foundations of restricting India to a modest target were laid by his fellow members of South Africa’s fearsome pace quartet, in particular from Wayne Parnell. Entrusted with the new ball, Parnell executed his signature moves in these helpful conditions. He repeatedly found the ideal hard lengths to prevent the Indian batsmen from finding easy scoring options and his left-arm pace meant that he kept extracting just the right amount of swing, angles and movement off the pitch. With Rohit and Rahul already struggling for form on Australian pitches, it was the perfect storm for Parnell to start proceedings off with a maiden and also peg back Suryakumar at the death.

3. SKY’s valiant knock an indictment on his teammates

For the second consecutive match but under entirely different circumstances, Suryakumar Yadav has proven to be the ideal T20 batsman, both on a temperamental and a technical level. The Mumbai-born middle-order batsman not only saved the Indian innings from a complete collapse by trying to build partnerships, but he also counter-attacked early in his innings, picking the right moments to take risks. Once again, he showed why he’s known as a 360-degree player, employing exquisite wristwork, footwork and finding the gaps in South Africa’s field placements. But the fact that he did so with almost no assistance from the rest of the Indian batting lineup is an indictment of their technical faults and abilities to face high pace and bounce bowling in countries like Australia. The closest element he had to a partnership was a baffling Dinesh Karthik innings during which SKY did all the heavy lifting.

4. India’s gamble to play one less allrounder backfires

India made a massive gamble by tinkering with their winning side — left-arm spinner Axar Patel lost his place to middle-order hitter Deepak Hooda to add some batting depth for a pitch that did not assist spin. While it made sense on paper to an extent, it backfired in reality as Hooda was thrown off the deep end by being selected for his first T20 World Cup game on Australia’s bounciest pitch against one of the world’s best bowling attacks. And it backfired just three balls into Hooda’s innings, as he was caught behind fishing at a wide delivery he had no business getting after, given his lack of footwork. Moreover, selecting one less bowler meant that R Ashwin had to deliver his full quota of overs even after Aiden Markram and David Miller looked to target him over India’s pacers for pressure-relieving boundaries. The last two overs of Ashwin’s spell, which saw him dismiss Tristan Stubbs but concede several sixes to Markram and Miller, summed up this tactical problem for India.

5. India pay the ultimate price for awful fielding

But Ashwin’s disastrous final over, and the complexion of the second innings itself, may have been entirely different had Virat Kohli simply held on to a regulation catch to dismiss Markram or had Rohit Sharma effected an easy run-out. Instead, India’s fielding at critical moments came up short in a big way, much to Ashwin’s agony when Kohli juggled and ultimately shelled the catch. Markram was on 36 at the time and went on to make 52 in a partnership with David Miller that lasted 37 more runs after the drop, and the rest was history, marked by “Protea Fire”.

Also read: India vs South Africa T-20 World Cup live updates: South Africa win by 5 wickets


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