T20 World Cup: Miller, Markram fifties lead South Africa to top of Group 2 with five-wicket win over India
IANS

T20 World Cup: Miller, Markram fifties lead South Africa to top of Group 2 with five-wicket win over India

New Delhi, October 30, 2022

David Miller and Aiden Markram smashed fifties to lead South Africa to the top of the Group 2 points table in Super 12s with a thrilling five-wicket victory over India in the Men's T20 World Cup at Perth Stadium on Sunday.

After Suryakumar Yadav slammed a brilliant counter-attacking 68 off 40 balls to help India post a decent 133/9 after Lungi Ngidi led a fine Proteas bowling performance with 4/29, Miller (59 not out off 46 balls) and Markram (52 off 41 balls) rescued South Africa from a shaky 24/3 with a 76-runs stand off 60 balls for the fourth wicket to complete the chase with two balls to spare.

Chasing 134, Arshdeep Singh struck on his first ball of the second over, finding the outside edge of Quinton de Kock's drive on a full, swinging away delivery and was caught at second slip.

On the third ball, the left-arm pacer hit Rilee Rossouw on the back leg after missing a flick, which captain Rohit Sharma reviewed and replays showed ball hitting top of leg and middle stump, giving Arshdeep his second wicket in three balls.

Captain Temba Bavuma never looked comfortable at the crease and in a bid to make room and lap Mohammed Shami in the final over of power-play, he gave an inside edge to the keeper diving to his left.

Despite Markram finding delightful boundaries, twice off Arshdeep and one against Hardik Pandya, India's bowlers kept the run-rate tight and were flawless with their lengths as well as extracting extra bounce as South Africa reached 40/3 in ten overs.

After the drinks break, Markram and Miller showed signs of changing gears as the duo took a four each off Pandya in a 16-run 11th over. Markram then danced down the pitch against Ravichandran Ashwin in the 12th over and smashed a four over the bowler's head.

He had a huge slice of luck at 35 when a juggling Virat Kohli dropped a simple catch at deep mid-wicket, leaving Ashwin shocked. In the next over, as Miller called for a tight single, Markram had another reprieve when Rohit missed an underarm direct hit at striker's end.

With the ball getting softer, Miller cleared his front leg and lofted Ashwin over long-off for six on the first ball of 14th over, followed by Markram dispatching a carrom ball for six over long-on in a 17-run over. As Markram's pull fell between two leg-side fielders in the deep, he got to his fifty in 37 balls.

Markram's charmed life at the crease came to an end when he holed out to deep mid-wicket off Pandya in the 16th over, departing for 52. Miller smacked successive sixes off Ashwin's first two balls in the 18th over - a straight loft down the ground was followed by smashing hard over wide long-off.

But Ashwin struck back by trapping Tristan Stubbs lbw while trying to reverse-sweep a slower carrom ball, with South Africa burning a review as well. Miller went on to raise his fifty with a cracking cut through third man off Shami in the 19th over, before getting a glove edge on pull for four and smashing a cut over cover off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to give India their first loss in the tournament.

Earlier, on a pacy, bouncy pitch, where many batters were made to look ordinary as pacer Lungi Ngidi blew away the Indian top-order with hard lengths and extra bounce to pick 4/29 while Wayne Parnell took 3/15 in a superb Proteas bowling show, Suryakumar fought hard, hitting six fours and three sixes at a strike-rate of 170 to bring up his 11th T20I fifty.

He timed his shots well and shared a stand of 52 for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Karthik, who contributed with only six runs in the partnership, to lead India's recovery from 49/5 and give something for the bowlers to defend.

Electing to bat first, after nine dot balls, Rohit Sharma got off the mark with a pulled six off Kagiso Rabada over fine leg. In the next over, KL Rahul sweetly smacked a full ball from Parnell over deep mid-wicket.

Rohit then flicked a Rabada full toss on pads through square leg, before miscuing a pull on a short ball from Ngidi in the next over back to the bowler. One brought two for Ngidi in the fifth over as Rahul nicked a back of the length ball to first slip.

Post power-play, Virat Kohli hit successive boundaries off Ngidi -- a drive over extra cover was followed by a whip through mid-wicket. But hard length and extra bounce helped Ngidi have the last laugh as Kohli tried to pull a bouncer and was caught by deep fine leg running to his right.

More trouble came for India as Deepak Hooda flashed hard at a wide ball from Anrich Nortje without any footwork, and sent a thin edge behind to the keeper in the eighth over. The short ball continued to be India's undoing as Hardik Pandya pulled off Ngidi in the ninth over, only to see a forward diving Rabada at fine leg taking a superb low catch.

But Suryakumar continued to play his shots, whipping Nortje for six over backward square leg while cutting Keshav Maharaj behind point for four. With Maharaj not getting much turn, Suryakumar danced down the pitch to smack a straight six over the bowler's head.

When Ngidi dropped short on the first ball of his final spell, Suryakumar moved across to get in line of the ball and pulled handsomely over fine leg. He then got his fifty in 30 balls with a straight drive past mid-on off Ngidi.

But Dinesh Karthik struggled to time the ball at the other end and fell as a top-edge on a pull was caught by backward point off Wayne Parnell, breaking the 52-run partnership. Suryakumar, though, was unperturbed as he took back-to-back fours off Maharaj in the 17th over - outer edge on cut went past the keeper, while a scoop on one knee went above fine leg.

Suryakumar's sublime stay continued when he slammed a baseball-style smash off Rabada over the bowler's head for four. But Parnell struck twice in the penultimate over, having Ravichandran Ashwin caught at mid-on on the pull and then seeing Suryakumar miscuing the same shot on a slower ball to mid-off.

Despite the run-out of Mohammed Shami for nought, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh ensured that India managed to cross the 130-mark.

Brief Scores: India 133/9 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 68; Lungi Ngidi 4/29, Wayne Parnell 3/15) lose to South Africa 137/5 in 19.4 overs (David Miller 59 not out, Aiden Markram 52; Arshdeep Singh 2/25, Mohammed Shami 1/13) by five wickets

IANS

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