ICC World T20 2014 – Review of second semi final between India and South Africa

ICC World T20 2014 – Second semi final between India and South Africa
ICC World T20 2014 – Second semi final between India and South Africa
ICC World T20 2014 – Second semi final between India and South Africa
ICC World T20 2014 – Second semi final between India and South Africa

Virat Kohli is regarded by many to be the most influential player in the Indian team with the possible exception of MS Dhoni. Time and again he has proved that he has the capability to perform in the big matches – pull his weight when it matters the most. He showed it yet again in the second semi final of the ICC World T20 2014 against South Africa and carried his team to the brink of another ICC championship with a superb display of calm and capable batting while facing a big total.


Team composition: As was thought before the match Dhoni went in with the team that competed and was successful in the final group match against Australia. Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami were left out, presumably, for their less than satisfactory form in the group stages, and Rahane and Mohit Sharma were chosen in their place. South Africa made just a single change bringing in skipper Faf du Plessis instead of Farhaan Behardien.


Batting: South Africa won the toss and chose to bat. The decision was perhaps justifiable for the reason that the Proteas are not good chasers but it also played right into India’s hand. However, the African team batted well to get to a total of 172. The returning skipper Faf du Plessis played admirably to top score with 58 from 41 balls and received good support from the likes of Miller and Duminy.


India, however, got off to a good start thanks to the two Rs – Rohit and Rahane. However, Kohli stayed unbeaten on 72 to guide the team home. He has often said that he prefers a chase as that allows him to plan his innings and he has been walking the talk.


Bowling: As opposed to the previous matches Indian spinners had an off day with only Ashwin bowling well to claim 3 for 22 from 4 overs. Jadeja bowled a 2 over spell for just 8 runs but the rest of the bowlers, including Amit Mishra, went for plenty. Bhuvneshwar had a somewhat decent match, however, with figures of 1 for 33 from his 4 overs.


For South Africa, Beuran Hendricks bowled the best with 2 for 31 – good figures considering he is a newcomer and was going up against a celebrated batting line up like the one at India’s disposal. Tahir and Parnell picked up the other wickets to fall but overall the bowling lacked the penetration to win against India. It was also pretty surprising to see Dale Steyn being denied the new ball. Clearly the best bowler needs to be given first use of the cherry in such an important clash so that he is able to set the tone straight away.


Where do the teams go from here?


As was expected before the game, India went ahead to the finals and will now jostle with Sri Lanka for the World T20 title. The Asian giants have the players as well as the momentum to win the trophy for a second time after 2007 and add to their glittering cabinet. That would ensure that the team ends its international season on a high after the disappointments of South Africa and New Zealand.


As far as South Africa is concerned there are some important concerns. Why is the team not picking its best players for this format like Johan Botha and Roleof van der Merwe especially considering its spin stocks are not exactly overflowing with options! People like Neil McKenzie and Ryan McLaren also need to be brought back into the team because of their capability and experience. More than that, bowlers of the class of Morne Morkel should play more often – the same applies for the statistically successful Tsotsobe as well. A few bad games should not be held against them.


The team should also think of playing Vernon Philander more often than not. If your specialists are not delivering the results you are better off playing the full team. Kallis should also be picked as long as he is willing to play international cricket. It is hard to replace a cricketer of his quality so soon. Also someone like AB de Villiers should be batting higher up the order than he did against India – preferably at number 4. South Africa has plenty of talent – it is evident from its ranking in test cricket. It just needs to harness it and very soon it will be able to win trophies in limited overs cricket as well.