The Proteas aspirations of a semi-final berth were over before their match even began on Monday night, as they needed to not only win there match, but have Australia beat Pakistan in theirs which never materialised as the Pakistanis hammered the Aussies, winning the match by 32 runs.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl first against India in a match which for the South Africans was a dead rubber game, and the decision was justified when SA had the Indians reeling on 36/3. The Indian pair of Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma then went about recovering their teams innings as they got the score to 68 before Yuvraj found his off stump castled off a Morne Morkel Yorker. India then brought up their 100 in 13.5 overs from a lofted shot through the covers for a boundary. Rohit Sharma didn’t last long after that however as he was struck plumb in front LBW off a Peterson delivery, leaving India’s score on 112/5 after 16 overs. They managed a further 40 runs in the last 4 overs losing just the wicket of Raina on the very last ball by means of a run-out to end India’s total on 152/6 in their 20 overs.
South Africa’s reply got off to a horrid start as they lost their inform batsman Hashim Amla for a 2nd ball duck, and then Kallis soon after leaving the Proteas on 16/2 after 3.3 overs. The pair of AB de Villiers and the new man to the team Faf du Plessis (replacing Levi) seemed unfazed by the early losses as they played some lusty blows to quickly take South Africa’s total to 46 before de Villiers played a Yuvraj Singh ball onto his stumps in the 7th over. Duminy then joined Faf at the crease and the pair manoeuvred the ball around, in the gaps very well, taking the SA total to 73/3 at the halfway stage, meaning that they needed a further 80 runs to win off the last 10 overs. Faf then brought up his 50 in the 11th over at a strike rate of around the 165 mark, which begs the question, why didn’t we have him in the team from the start? He emphasised this point even further as he scored another 15 run to eventually be dismissed for 65 off just 38 deliveries. Faf’s innings put South Africa in charge, but it quickly became a level playing field again as a few tight overs from the Indian bowlers upped the required run-rate, and the pressure, which then resulted in the wicket of Duminy who was trying to up the ante by playing a few aggressive strokes, ended up hitting it straight to the fielder on the boundary. Ashwin then got Peterson out twice in a row off a no ball and then the free hit but got nothing for it. Needing 40 from the last 4 overs, the same as what India got in there last 4 overs, South Africa threw everything but the kitchen sink at them but just didn’t have the firepower left as India came out winners by 1 run.
So all in all its been a terribly disappointing tournament for the Proteas, after thrashing Zimbabwe and then following it up with a comprehensive victory over the hosts Sri Lanka to top the group. To ending up bottom of their Super 8 group (which I still feel was more a group of semi-finalists) without a single win and heading home prematurely yet again in a major ICC event.