Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
Mirpur: Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin once again bowled his heart out in the second semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 against South Africa at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first. But, unlike the last four matches of the tournament, Indian skipper MS Dhoni didn`t throw the new ball to Ashwin to share it with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. And medium-pacer Mohit Sharma started the bowling proceedings with Bhuvi.
Ashwin was introduced into the attack in the fifth over, at a time, when opener Hashim Amla was looking dangerous. First ball was a wide from the offie. In the next ball, he did the trick for India. He bowled a carrom ball, which took Amla by surprise. After pitching at leg stump it spun the other way and crashed into the stumps. The spinner conceded mere one run in the over.
Surprisingly, Dhoni didn`t continue with the wicket-taking spinner. It cost India heavily as South African put up 107 runs on board in mere 13 overs. Aswhin was then reintroduced into the attack to bowl the 14th over. The proteas skipper Faf du Plessis who was playing on 51 at that point, welcomed the Tamil Nadu spinner with a six off his second ball over long-on. But after a gap of two balls he got the better of du Plessis.
In his third over Ashwin gave India another crucial breakthrough when he picked up the wicket of dangerous AB de Villiers, who was caught at long-leg fence by Rohit Sharma. Ashwin gave mere three runs in the over.
In his first three overs the 27-year old not only picked up three crucial wickets but also put some breaks on the scoring. He ended up with the staggering figures of 4-0-22-3 to say the least.
In a match where another in-form Indian tweaker, Amit Mishra, leaked 36 runs and went wicket-less, Ashwin once again proved his mettle in the pressure game.
So far Ashwin has picked up ten wickets in the tournament and played a major role in India`s unbeatable run. Now as India have reached the final of coveted title, it would be interesting to watch whether he can deliver one more time to help the `Men in Blue` winning their second title or not.