T20 WC: Defeat is a habit; India prove it again

Updated: Jun 16, 2009, 21:50 PM IST

Biswajit Jha/Zeecric.com

Trent Bridge, June 16: India, playing for pride against South Africa in an inconsequential Super Eights tie of ICC World T20 Championship here on Tuesday after England knocked them out of the tournament on Sunday, made a heavy weather of a modest target set by South Africa, courting a 12-run defeat from the jaws of victory.

Despite restricting mighty South Africa to 130/5 and then putting up a 48-run opening partnership, India`s struggling middle-order again faltered just when everything was in their favour.

Like the last two matches against West Indies and England, which they lost, India`s pathetic batting continued with the only exception of Yuvraj Singh, who made 25. But he did not get sufficient support from the other end to see India through.

Though Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma gave their team a sound start, but the under-fire middle-order again let Dhoni down.

For the Proteas, off-spinner Johan Botha was the wrecker-in-chief, claiming three important wickets.

The slump started when India lost Gautam Gambhir. After forging a 48-run opening stand, Gambhir departed trying to play a chip shot of off-spinner Johan Botha only to give a simple catch to the man at point. Gambhir made 19-ball 21 with the help of 3 fours.

Suresh Raina’s indifferent form with the bat continued as he threw away his wicket for only 3. Raina tried to whack Botha over mid-wicket boundary, only to be holed out in the deep.

Rohit Sharma followed Raina to the pavilion as he top-edged part-timer JP Duminy to be caught at point. Rohit made 29.

Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan also did not last long as they departed for 5 and duck respectively. Dhoni was run out while Pathan gave a simple catch to short cover.

Earlier, losing the toss and bowling first, a spirited bowling performance by the bowlers helped India restrict in-form South Africa to a moderate 130/5.

From the outset of the match, all the India bowlers came hard at the South African batsmen and kept taking wickets at regular intervals. They also chocked the run-flow of the South African batsmen that ultimately resulted in their downfall.

Ravindra Jadeja was the peak of the lot as he took one wicket giving away just nine runs in his three overs. All the spinners including regular spinner Harbhajan Singh bowled a tight line and length that helped them put a check on the rampaging Proteas batsmen.

Suresh Raina (1/6), Harbhajan Singh (1/20), RP Singh (1/21) and Zaheer Khan (1/27) contributed to the excellent show by the spirited Indians.

Only AB de Villiers played well for the Proteas. South Africa would not have crossed hundred had he not scored a brilliant 63. His 51-ball knock contained seven hits to the fence.

Apart from him, only Graeme Smith (25) made some contribution at the top.

Left-arm pacer RP Singh put South Africa on the backfoot in the second over when he cleaned up Herschelle Gibbs for just 5.

South Africa have rested Jacque Kallis and brought in Morne Morkel in his place. India, on the other hand, went with the same combination that lost to England on Sunday.

South Africa (Playing XI): Graeme Smith(c), Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Mark Boucher(w), Albie Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Wayne Parnell, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn

India (Playing XI): Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni(w/c), Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh