Euro 2020 Special

India vs South Africa World Cup Review: South Africa Hold Their Nerve in Perth

India’s World Cup campaign suffered its first setback as they lost a low-scoring match to South Africa in Perth.

Although the result is not terminal to India’s hopes of qualifying for the knock-out phases, they face the prospect of a harder semi-final if they do qualify.

India never recovered from losing five wickets for 26 runs at the top of their innings, although a fine innings from Suryakumar Yadav had seemed to give them hope.

And when South Africa slumped to 24.3 in their reply, it seemed like India’s bowlers might yet save the day for their side.

But a partnership between Aiden Markram and David Miller, first steadied the ship before blossoming into a match-winning one. In the end, they held their nerve and squeezed home with two balls to spare.



This was a match between the two unbeaten teams in the group and, having won the three-match series between the two in India a few weeks ago, the Indians were confident of victory again.

Both teams made changes for this match. Deepak Hooda replaced Axar Patel with Deepak Hooda, whilst South Africa opted for the pace of Lungi Ngidi over the spin of Tabraiz Shamsi. Ngidi was to fully justify his selection, but the same could not be said of Hooda.


Match recap

India won the toss and chose to bat first and, initially all seemed well as openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul put on 23 for the first wicket. That was until the South African captain Temba Bavuma threw the ball to Ngidi, who responded with a fine show of fast bowling.

He began by inducing Rohit to give a thick edge back to him for a simple caught and bowled, and then Rahul guided a delivery from him straight to slip.

The wicket the South Africans really wanted was Virat Kohli, who had been not out in his two previous innings in this tournament, but this time Ngidi had him caught on the boundary.

Hooda’s innings lasted just three balls before he was caught behind off Anrich Nortje, and then Ngidi claimed his fourth wicket to dismiss Hardik Pandya.

India were on the ropes, but Suryakumar Yadav did his best to turn things around, making 68 off 40 balls, including 3 sixes and 6 fours. Unfortunately no one could give him any sustained support, and 133/9 did not look to be a winning score.

When South Africa were reduced to 24/3 in their reply, India sensed they could still win the match.

But Markram and Miller were patient, content to keep the scoreboard moving whilst they got used to the speed and bounce of the pitch.

At one stage they were well adrift of the required rate, but gradually began to pick up the pace.

When Markram was dismissed for 52 in the 18th over there was still work to do, but Miller was able to guide his side home, finishing on 59 not out.

Ngidi picked up Player of the Match honours.


Poor fielding let India down

Afterwards India captain Rohit Sharma refused to blame the conditions – it was cold and blustery – but the same for both sides. Instead he felt his team had been let down by their fielding and that several run out opportunities had been missed, including by himself.

And, having made inroads into the South African batting line-up, they should have been more clinical.


South Africa flying under the radar

There had been little in South Africa’s form prior to the tournament to suggest they were among the favourites to win the trophy. But they thrashed the other surprise side of the competition, New Zealand in a warm-up game, and have been unbeaten so far.

Only the abandonment of their game with Zimbabwe in questionable circumstances has prevented them having a 100% record.

They must now be taken seriously as dark horses to win it for the first time in their history.

What happens next India play Bangladesh on Wednesday in Adelaide, and will not want any more slip-ups. Meanwhile, the day before South Africa take on Pakistan in Sydney. Knowing that, because of their Net Run Rate, a win of any kind will mean they are almost certain to finish top of the group.




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