India win toss, choose to bowl against South Africa

Virat Kohli hailed India's focused bowling and fielding displays as his side thrashed South Africa to book a spot in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy.

You could nearly feel it - when AB De Villiers called wrong and lost the toss, with India putting South Africa into bat - the panic setting in.

They had a good but a slow start where in for the 1st wicket partnership, a cool 76 runs was scored in 17.3 overs when Hashim Amla got out for 35.

Like Sri Lanka, Pakistan recovered from a discouraging defeat in their first match to then triumph over an out-of-sorts South Africa in Birmingham four days ago. Pakistan, being Pakistan, stunned South Africa while Sri Lanka lifted its game remarkably to get past India.

A catastrophic series of running mix-ups from the Proteas cost the key wickets of AB De Villiers and David Miller and left their batting effort woefully short at 191 all out.

South Africa may have imploded in a spectacular fashion but India applied the choke on the field.

South Africa responded with back-to-back maiden overs but consecutive boundaries for Dhawan just about kept India on course. If two men chanced upon a lion in the bush, it is often said, you don't need to out-run the king of the jungle, just your fellow man.

So what if they couldn't get off to a fast start in the first ten overs? Ashwin, however, had other ideas and in the 17th over sent in on that skidded more than Amla expected and the 34-year-old's bat could only guide the ball on to the stumps.

The target of 192 was not one that much bothered India.

Kohli remained in total control, however, and Yuvraj Singh hoisted JP Duminy over mid-wicket for a huge six to complete the most comfortable of wins for his team.

Asked whether a radical shake up is needed, De Villiers said, "That's a question can only be answered by people who are in control of making radical decisions".

"In our group especially, all teams are on two points, and you have to win your next game to go through, which is an exciting position to be in for all teams".

"I'm really delighted for all the bowlers to have executed all their plans well in such a big game", Kohli added.

The match assumed significance as the victor of the match will be ensured a place in the semi-finals.

I feel Pakistan should stick to its strengths and play with the same positive approach it displayed against South Africa, writes the former captain. AB de Villiers played one delectable cover drive, a shot that you might see on a mural depicting cricket's most attractive strokes, but it proved to be a false dawn. Run-outs happen but three in one innings is not how we want to play our cricket that is for sure.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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