Mirpur (Bangladesh), April 4: Virat Kohli starred with a brilliant unbeaten 72 as India pulled off a comprehensive six-wicket win over South Africa to make their second ICC World Twenty20 finals at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here Friday.
India, winners in 2007, will be facing neighbours Sri Lanka in Sunday’s title-clash which will be a repeat of the 2011 50-overs World Cup final. If they win, India will be the only team to hold the World Cup, Champions Tophy and the World T20 title at the same time.
Opting to bat first, South Africa did well to post a challenging total of 172 for four in 20 overs with skipper Faf du Plesis scoring a quick-fire 41-ball 58 while Jean Paul Duminy made an unbeaten 45 off 40 balls.
India made a mockery of what looked like a stiff target and cruised to 176 for four with five balls to spare as Kohli struck a blistering 44-ball unbeaten 72. Ajinkya Rahane (32), Rohit Sharma (24), Suresh Raina (21) and Yuvraj Singh (18) also made valuable contributions.
But it was Kohli’s knock that made the difference and the young batsman single-handedly took away the match from South Africa with his aggressive knock that was studded with five fours and two sixes.
South Africa missed an extra spinner badly as leg-spinner Imran Tahir was the most economical of the bowlers giving away 30 runs from four overs and picked up the wicket of Yuvraj. The pacers including world’s best fast bowler Dale Steyn proved too costly for the Proteas.
Earlier in the day, opting to bat first, South Africa riding on good innings from Du Plessis and Duminy got what looked like a winning score.
Though Indian bowlers struck twice inside the first six overs to reduce South Africa to 44 for two, Du Plessis and Duminy joined forces and plundered the Indian attack with their 71-run stand for the third wicket.
India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/33) struck in the first over to get rid of opening batsman Quinton de Kock (6) caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Umpire Ian Gould had no doubts in his mind before raising his finger but De Kock looked surprised. TV replays, however, confirmed a sound as the ball passed by the bat.
Ashwin struck next in the sixth over to get rid of Hashim Amla (22), who had his off-stumps shattered with a carrom ball. The off-spinner was the pick of the Indian bowlers giving away 22 runs from four overs and also picked up Du Plessis and the dangerous AB de Villiers (10).