Perth, Oct 30 (IANS) David Miller and Aiden Markram smashed fifties to lead South Africa to top of Group 2 points table in Super 12s with a five-wicket victory over India in a thrilling win at the Men’s T20 World Cup at Perth Stadium on Sunday.
After Suryakumar Yadav slammed a brilliant counter-attacking 68 off 40 balls to help India post a decent 133/9 after Lungi Ngidi led a fine Proteas bowling performance with 4/29, Miller (59 not out off 46 balls) and Markram (52 off 41 balls) rescued South Africa from a shaky 24/3 with a 76-runs stand off 60 balls for the fourth wicket to complete the chase with two balls to spare.
Chasing 134, Arshdeep Singh struck on his first ball of the second over, finding the outside edge of Quinton de Kock’s drive on a full, swinging away delivery and was caught at second slip.
On the third ball, the left-arm pacer hit Rilee Rossouw on the back leg after missing a flick, which captain Rohit Sharma reviewed and replays showed ball hitting top of leg and middle stump, giving Arshdeep his second wicket in three balls.
Captain Temba Bavuma never looked comfortable at the crease and in a bid to make room and lap Mohammed Shami in the final over of power-play, he gave an inside edge to the keeper diving to his left.
Despite Markram finding delightful boundaries, twice off Arshdeep and one against Hardik Pandya, India’s bowlers kept the run-rate tight and were flawless with their lengths as well as extracting extra bounce as South Africa reached 40/3 in ten overs.
After the drinks break, Markram and Miller showed signs of changing gears as the duo took a four each off Pandya in a 16-run 11th over. Markram then danced down the pitch against Ravichandran Ashwin in the 12th over and smashed a four over the bowler’s head.
He had a huge slice of luck at 35 when a juggling Virat Kohli dropped a simple catch at deep mid-wicket, leaving Ashwin shocked. In the next over, as Miller called for a tight single, Markram had another reprieve when Rohit missed an underarm direct hit at striker’s end.
With the ball getting softer, Miller cleared his front leg and lofted Ashwin over long-off for six on the first ball of 14th over, followed by Markram dispatching a carrom ball for six over long-on in a 17-run over. As Markram’s pull fell between two leg-side fielders in the deep, he got to his fifty in 37 balls.
Markram’s charmed life at the crease came to an end when he holed out to deep mid-wicket off Pandya in the 16th over, departing for 52. Miller smacked successive sixes off Ashwin’s first two balls in the 18th over – a straight loft down the ground was followed by smashing hard over wide long-off.
But Ashwin struck back by trapping Tristan Stubbs lbw while trying to reverse-sweep a slower carrom ball, with South Africa burning a review as well. Miller went on to raise his fifty with a cracking cut through third man off Shami in the 19th over, before getting a glove edge on pull for four and smashing a cut over cover off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to give India their first loss in the tournament.
Brief Scores: India 133/9 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 68; Lungi Ngidi 4/29, Wayne Parnell 3/15) lose to South Africa 137/5 in 19.4 overs (David Miller 59 not out, Aiden Markram 52; Arshdeep Singh 2/25, Mohammed Shami 1/13) by five wickets