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Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home - Cricket News
Match Reports,07 July 2015

Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home

WT20 Fantasy

Simon Hughes: Ashwin too cast a spell

Kohli was brilliant, but offie's key scalps too did the trick for India

Simon Hughes: Ashwin too cast a spell - Cricket News
R Ashwin of India is congratulated by his teammates after dismissing AB de Villiers of South Africa.
An inspirational innings of 72 from just 44 balls by Virat Kohli carried India into the WT20 final with five balls to spare. After a quiet few balls to play himself in, Kohli unleashed his entire being on South Africa, lashing sixes over long-on and deep mid-wicket, savaging short balls for four and haring up and down the wicked for twos as if his life depended on it. Even Dale Steyn, whose three overs were taken for 36 had no answer as Kohli dispatched the winning hit through mid-wicket. 

It was the first time South Africa had failed to defend a score over 170 in a T20 international. It has never reached a WT20 final. 
Despite Kohli’s brilliance, there was another India player who was equally deserving of the man of the match award. The South Africa innings was just starting to gain impetus at 43-1 after five overs with Hashim Amla going well. Ravi Ashwin was brought on. He has admitted himself to being in the form of his life and knowing exactly where each ball is going to land. He proved it second ball with a brilliant carom ball from round the wicket which beat Amla’s attempted flick and bowled him off-stump. 
A calculated assault on Suresh Raina from Faf du Plessis got South Africa back on target for a big score, and Amit Mishra was expensive, and when Ashwin was brought back for his second over, du Plessis pulled him for six over long-on. But then Ashwin spotted him backing away, fired a carom ball at his body and bowled him off his elbow. Perhaps even more importantly Ashwin got the dangerous AB de Villiers caught at deep square-leg before he could inflict much damage. Ashwin finished with 3-22 from his four overs. The power of left-handers JP Duminy and David Miller resurrected the situation for South Africa in the last two overs, taking 12 off the 19th bowled by Kumar and 14 off the 20th from Mohit Sharma, although Sharma’s final over of mainly wide yorkers was pretty decent. 

The odds at the half-way point slightly favoured South Africa. 
That advantage was handed straight back as Rohit Sharma collected 14 off the opening over from Duminy, partly off the middle, partly off the edge. Steyn couldn’t contain him either and was carved for six over cover. Sharma was deceived by Hendricks' slower ball and caught off a skier for 24, but Ajinkya Rahane maintained the momentum with some elegant shots, the highlight an effortless six over extra-cover off Wayne Parnell. It allowed Kohli a little time to play himself in.
Their partnership featured brilliant running, converting ones into twos, and after Rahane was caught in the deep, Kohli began to take control, hitting Duminy cleanly over long-on for a six, fetching Tahir for another over deep mid-wicket, and always finding a boundary when needed. South Africa fielded magnificently and there was a hiccup in the run chase when Yuvraj Singh was caught dramatically by AB de Villiers. India still required 10 an over from the last four. 
The match swayed firmly India’s way as Parnell overdid the short ball to Raina who profited from a short leg-side boundary and took 17 off the 17th over. Kohli biffed Steyn for four over wide long-on and carved him over cover in the 18th and the match was as good as won.  After Raina was out, MS Dhoni, in his first innings of the tournament,  blocked his first ball to sportingly allow Kohli to finish the match. Although South Africa lacked spin options, it was a superbly paced chase by India and, with its depth of batting and range of bowling options, it is hard to see how it can prevented from lifting the trophy on Sunday.

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