Aiden Markram and David Miller scored fine half centuries as South Africa defeated India by 5 wickets in front of a 44,000+ strong crowd in Group 2 at the Optus Stadium on Sunday evening. The vast majority of the fans in attendance were Indians, and it far surpassed the 25,061 that had turned up for Australia vs Sri Lanka at the same venue earlier in the tournament (albeit that game was on a weekday)
Both India and South Africa made a solitary change each to their lineups, with Deepak Hooda and Lungi Ngidi coming in for Axar Patel and Tabraiz Shamsi respectively.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Ngidi pegged the Men in Blue back with four wickets in his first spell, accounting for Rohit Sharma (15), KL Rahul (9), Virat Kohli (12) and Hardik Pandya (2). Deepak Hooda also fell to Anrich Nortje, with India losing half their side with just 49 on the board.
The pair of Suryakumar Yadav and Dinesh Karthik then steadied the innings with a crucial sixth wicket stand of 52 runs before the latter perished to Wayne Parnell for 6. Parnell also accounted for Yadav (40 ball 68) and Ashwin as he denied India a chance of a strong finish.
In the end, Rahul Dravid’s men finished with a respectable score of 133/9 in their allotted 20 overs- probably 10 or 20 short of what they were looking to achieve at the 15 over mark.
Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/29.
Chasing 134, South Africa got off to a dreadful start as left arm seamer Arshdeep Singh sent back both Quinton De Kock (1) and last match centurion Rilee Rossouw (0) in the second over.
Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma’s poor run with the bat continued as he was dismissed by Mohammed Shami for 10 while attempting a scoop.
Aiden Markram and David Miller then stitched together a 76 run stand for the fourth wicket. Markram got a reprieve twice- first when Virat Kohli dropped a sitter off Ashwin, and then with Rohit missing a relatively easy under arm run out.
However Hardik finally broke the stand by dismissing Markram for 52, with Yadav taking a good catch in the deep.
With 25 needed off 18 balls, Miller smashed Ravi Ashwin for two sixes to tilt the game in the Proteas’ favour. Though Tristan Stubbs was dismissed leg before wicket by Ashwin, Miller was on hand to complete the winning runs as he hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a boundary.
With this victory, the Proteas now move to the top of the table with 5 points.