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Superb Kohli steers India to victory
India set up an all Asian T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka when the defeated South Africa by six wickets in an absorbing semi-final encounter in Mirpur.
Virat Kohli starred yet again for India as the 50 over World Champions look to add another T20 World Cup to their trophy cabinet against the Asian Cup champions and three times losing T20 World Cup finalists Sri Lanka.
South Africa won the toss and elected to strike first and it was India that would have been the happier of the two with the decision as Kumar had De Knock caught behind off the fourth delivery of the innings, the left-hander clearly unhappy with being given out.
Amla took control over the next five overs scoring 22 off 16 before he was deceived by a brilliant leg spinner by Ashwin, bowling the South African opener from around the wicket to leave South Africa on 44/2.
JP Duminy joined captain Faf du Plessis with the pair adding 71 in 52 balls, Du Plessis being particularly harsh on Amit Mishra. The South African captain brought up his 50 in 36 balls however shortly after he went early at an Ashwin delivery which bounced off his chest and ricochet onto the stumps, an unlucky ending to a brilliant innings.
Danger-man, De Villiers lasted just eight balls before he misjudged the bounce on another Ashwin delivery and was caught on the fence going for the maximum.
Duminy and Miller took the Proteas through to a competitive 172, with 43 off the final 27 deliveries, Duminy finishing with 45 off 40 and Miller an effective 22 off 12.
India’s chase started well as Rahane and Sharma helped themselves to 12 off the first Duminy over and then followed that up with another 11 off the second, delivered by Albie Morkel.
Du Plessis was forced into a change, introducing spearhead Dale Steyn who went for 10, Sharma taking advantage of the express pace to give India the perfect start, 33 off the first three overs.
It was a double change for the Proteas as Hendricks entered the attack and settled the South African nerves with the all important breakthrough, Sharma going for another million dollar shot which he mistimed into the hands of the South African captain Du Plessis for 24 off 13 balls to leave India well placed on 39.1 off 3.5 overs.
Rahane and Kohli continue to build on the start with some exceptional running between the wickets, steering the total to 77 before Rahane tried to react to the pressure built by the South African bowlers with an attempted boundary shot off Parnell that was snapped up by De Villiers, leaving the chase finely balanced at 77/2 off 9.3 overs.
With the tension building in the middle overs Tahir and Hendricks dried up the boundaries forcing Yuvraj and Kohli to apply pressure on the South Africa’s fielders with some superb running, Kohli reaching his 50 off 35 deliveries, however shortly after Tahir had Yuvraj caught in the deep by De Villiers to give South Africa hope.
Raina entered the frame in the 16th over and effectively ended South Africa’s chances by taking 17 off Parnell to leave India with just 23 off 18 balls.
Steyn had been held back to deliver 12 of those deliveries, however Kohli had all the answers in a battle of the best batsman against the best bowler, smashing Steyn to the midwicket boundary and then square on the offside, to leave the equation very much in the favour of India, 10 off the last 12 balls.
The drama wasn’t over as Hendricks stuck in the penultimate over, dismissing Raina with the slower delivery, however man of the tournament thus far, Virat Kohli smashed the next delivery to the fence and saw them home with the first ball off the final over to finish on 72 off 44, giving India victory by six wickets.