The Indian chase had self-destruction written all over it. 130- A target definitely tiny by T20 standards was what India needed on the surpass. India began well with openers Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma getting off to a brisk start hitting boundaries regularly off the fast bowlers to take India to 48/0 in 6.2 overs.
Graeme Smith soon played the ‘spin’ card calling in Johan Botha who struck immediately removing Gautam Gambhir for 21.India then lost some quick wickets with Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma playing some reckless shots. India at 56/3 before the halfway-10 over mark.
They then chugged along to 67/3 when disaster struck; M.S Dhoni run-out for 5 courtesy a misunderstanding with Yuvraj Singh. Yusuf Pathan also chose to be a part of ‘the series of unfortunate events’ offering a simple catch to AB de Villers off Van der Merwe to leave without troubling the scorers. India were now looking extremely shaky at 69/5. Like South Africa India had self-destructed after a good start and also failed to read the slow bowlers.
With 60 required off 35 balls Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh struck a few boundaries to offer a faint hope of victory. But then Murphy’s Law seemed to be in operation. Harbhajan Singh called for a runner after being struck on the heel. Voila! In came Dhoni, unfortunately he didn’t have much running to do as Harbhajan Singh fell soon for 14. When India’s last big hope Yuvraj Singh went caught behind for 25, defeat looked imminent. Eventually the number 12 proved to be the losing margin.
Earlier South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first. With the score at 13, opener Herschelle Gibbs had just one stump standing behind him after an inside edge from his Glenn and Moore blade saw R.P Singh picking up India’s first wicket. His replacement AB de Villiers decided to attack from the start and with skipper Graeme Smith for company brought up South Africa’s fifty in 6.3 overs.
Dhoni introduced Harbhajan Singh who had Graeme Smith caught after the South African skipper’s attempt at clearing the mid wicket boundary only resulted in a top-edge that found the cupped hands of Ravindra Jadeja. South Africa were then at 59/2 in 8.3 overs. With India’s spinners gaining control, AB de Villiers kept one end tight bringing up his half-century.
M.S Dhoni then brought about his eighth bowling change in the form of Suresh Raina. Dhoni himself stumped J.P Duminy to justify the move. The pitch was clearly offering turn and the South African batsmen were finding it hard to find the boundaries. Consequently AB de Villers found himself suffocated for the want of boundaries and was out caught and bowled to Ravindra Jadeja for a 51 ball 63.The scoreboard at Trent Bridge read 110/4.
Zaheer Khan had keeper-batsman Mark Boucher caught by Rudra Pratap Singh at long-off in the final over as South Africa finished their innings at 130/5.
A total one felt would be a cake-walk. Instead of eating it India chose to throw it and slip over.