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India’s one-run win not big enough to qualify

India, who would have loved to chase and loved to chase knowing what exactly they needed to do with the bat to win, and win so big that they pushed their net run rate of -0.452 over Pakistan’s 0.273, who are now through to the semi-final. However, batting first, all they could hope of doing was set up a huge total and try to win by a margin of around 30. South Africa’s bowling, though, was too strong to post a huge total against.

Depending on how high you rate R Ashwin and India’s part-time spinners, and on how weak you think South Africa are against spin, India stood a good to slim chance. Whatever chance they have, though, was thanks to Suresh Raina’s 45 off 34 and Yuvraj Singh’s middle-overs hitting for 21 off 15. The finishing touches were provided by MS Dhoni, who in his unorthodox way somehow squeezed out an unbeaten 23 off 13.India gave themselves a decent chance of staying alive in the tournament after recovering from 36 for 3 to post 152. However, it was no easy task that awaited them: they will have to restrict South Africa to 121 to get their net run rate ahead of Pakistan’s +0.273. Before the start of the match, India were stuck at -0.452.

South Africa have had a few of their parties cruelly crashed by teams world over, but for a major part of the innings they were intent on crashing India’s little gathering even before it became a party. Knocked out of the tournament already, they first won the toss India most wanted to win, and then first kept them down to a run a ball in the Powerplay, and then down to 112 for 5 after 16 overs.

India, who would have loved to chase, knowing what exactly to do with the bat, started off fast enough, but South Africa had too much quality in their attack for India to run away with a huge total. The openers looked too keen to hit, and fell inside the Powerplay. In between those two wickets, Virat Kohli crucially fell, strangled down the leg side off Morne Morkel. Morkel’s disconcerting length had earlier got Gautam Gambhir to play on too. Virender Sehwag hit Robin Peterson for a six, but swung all around an even slower delivery to lose his off stump off the next ball.

Yuvraj then reminded of his silken touch from before he had left the game with illness, lofting two of the better-timed sixes. He got too ambitious, though, trying to whip a full Morkel delivery from the off-stump line, getting bowled. It was now down to two youngsters for India, but Rohit Sharma again scored a disappointing 25 off 27 before falling lbw to a poor sweep.

Raina, though, looked good right from the start, and played good-looking extra-cover drives to give India some momentum. Dhoni joined him with brute powers, and the two combined to take an even 40 off the last four overs.

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