Skipper remains unbeaten on 30 off 16; team falls short of four runs in warm-up tie against South Africa.
Mumbai: Be Asia Cup the trailer to ICC World Twenty20, the warm-up fixtures of Team India summed up the film set to release on March 15 in Nagpur. Though MS Dhoni’s army fell short of four runs to South Africa before a packed Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, the idea behind the dress rehearsal gained shape.
Chasing a bloodthirsty 197 set by the heroics of Quinton de Kock (56 not out) and JP Duminy (67), India finished on 192 for the loss of three wickets.
The loss isn’t significant, the approach towards the chase looked impressive. Dhoni displayed glimpses of his (not seen for long) maverick side remaining unbeaten on 30 off 16 balls that included four fours and a six. The skipper fragmented the chase into two halves. The first episode comprised classical T20 approach – to a mammoth total – by opener Shikhar Dhawan who retired after a brisk 73 off 53 balls.
The southpaw sustained the magical touch gained from Mirpur and turned out to be the nemesis for the world class pace batteries. He found an ally in Suresh Raina and the duo added 94 runs before calling it a day. Raina hit two sixes and three fours in his 26-ball 41. On the other hand, Dhawan’s effort included 10 fours.
When the spectators awaited Dhawan’s ton, the duo retired. The stage looked set for Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh – the evergreen pair from the class of 2011 – for the final flourish. Yuvraj looked matured and busy balancing equations in his mind. He remained not out on 16 off 8 balls with a four and a six to his name.
Star player Virat Kohli could not rise to the occasion. Dale Steyn sucked the momentum out of Team India with his dismissal (caught by Quinton behind the stumps) in the third over. However, India reached a stage when 14 was required off the last over with the in-form Dhoni on strike. Chris Morris’ first dot ball raised the temperature of an otherwise friendly encounter.
The Proteas speedster made it interesting with a wide-ball after which India needed five off the last ball. With no super over assigned, the tourists ensured the ball didn’t go to the boundary. Earlier, Quinton’s no-nonsense tactic helped South Africa reach 196 for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs. He looked fine-tuned with a 28-ball 50 ahead of the opener against England.
Quinton seemed to have briefed himself the best among his colleagues. The left-hander could run through most of the shots in his arsenal – slice, cut and the lofted shot hoodwinking the fielders. He probably had a GPS set in his mind to help the cherry find a way through fielders. The Indian bowlers could not dismiss the opener, he retired 56 not out off 33 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
Duminy continued his good show from the last India tour. The left-hander launched a lethal attack. He started on a calm note, supporting Quinton, only to erupt in the death overs before falling prey to Mohammad Shami. Duminy slammed three sixes and six fours in his 44-ball 67. Hardik Pandya (3/36) stood out with the ball for the hosts. Jasprit Bumrah also claimed a couple but leaked 51 runs in his four overs.
Amongst the spinners, Harbhajan Singh – though economical – remained wicketless (0/27) while Pawan Negi conceded 12 off the only over he bowled. AB de Villiers did not take the field for South Africa despite being a substitute. For India, Ashish Nehra and Ravichandran Ashwin took a day off.
Brief scores: India 192/3 (S Dhawan 73*, S Raina 41*; Steyn 1/36) lost to South Africa 196/8 (Q de Kock 56*, JP Duminy 67; H Pandya 3/36) by four runs