India survives van Wyk blitz to win

S. Ram Mahesh
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Farewell: South African Makhaya Ntini gestures after bowling his last over in international cricket. — Photo: AFP
Farewell: South African Makhaya Ntini gestures after bowling his last over in international cricket. — Photo: AFP

With flares like dragon's breath greeting every big moment, throbbing music accompanying the bowler to his delivery stride, the black, segmented stage, for the show after, acting as a sightscreen, the one-off Twenty20 International between India and South Africa struggled to remain a cricket match.

But it did, only just, as India survived a sparkling blitz from opener Morne van Wyk (67, 39b, 5x4, 5x6) to win the game by 21 runs.

Having made 168 for six after electing to bat, India kept South Africa to 147 for nine.

Van Wyk's start, one run off his first seven balls, gave little indication of the mayhem to follow.

He drop-kicked Munaf Patel for six, a pick-up shot of uncluttered ease. Two fours followed, off the same bowler, and off consecutive deliveries: a creamed stroke through cover and a lofted one straight.

The pick-up shot was used to gain three other sixes, two off R. Ashwin and one more off Munaf.

The short square boundaries helped, but van Wyk would have cleared a full-size ground just as effortlessly.

Despite the loss of Hashim Amla (bowled by Ashish Nehra) and Colin Ingram (caught at short third-man off a Munaf slower ball), van Wyk motored.

Fielding brilliance

A moment of fielding brilliance, Suresh Raina collecting a throw from Nehra and throwing down the wicket with one stump to aim at, sparked a collapse.

A.B. de Villiers, the victim of that bit of fielding, was followed by J.P. Duminy (‘lbw' to Yuvraj) one run later.

India then dismissed van Wyk — the batsman finding the man at deep square-leg off Praveen Kumar — to irreversibly shift the contest's momentum.

The new batsman struggled with India's slower bowlers on a pitch that wasn't letting the ball come on. The match still had a few lusty blows, but none that inconvenienced India greatly.

The slide of wickets and the climb of the asking rate were too much for South Africa to overcome. Nehra finished with figures of two for 22 off four overs.

Sharma, Raina get going

The Indian innings was supplied its motive force by Rohit Sharma (53) and Suresh Raina (41). Sharma, who walked in after M. Vijay was caught brilliantly by van Wyk off Wayne Parnell, flicked Makhaya Ntini nonchalantly for six before straight-driving Rusty Theron.

The strokes stood out, orthodox shots that quickened the pulse nevertheless. Rohit put on 49 in 4.5 overs with Virat Kohli, who used a whipping bottom hand to power his strokes on the turgid wicket.

Rohit hit a flurry of boundaries, speeding to his half-century after Kohli had been bowled off a missed pull.

India fell from 109 for two 110 for four, Rohit caught athletically by Ntini on the boundary line and Yuvraj run out after a misunderstanding with Yusuf Pathan.

With Yusuf struggling with his timing, Raina took over. The left-hander stood deep in his crease for better leverage.

The space he created allowed Raina to transfer his momentum forward: three smashed sixes were the result.

Left-armer Parnell was the pick of South Africa's bowlers. But it was his new-ball partner, Ntini, whose moment it was. During India's innings, Ntini bowled his last ball in international cricket, finishing with unflattering figures of none for 46 from four.

It mattered little to the big picture: the crowd stood as one to salute Ntini, who has done so much for South African cricket. Each of his mates rushed to hug him; Ntini, on his way to his fielding spot, raised his arms, causing the Moses Mabhida Stadium to quiver.

He received a similar ovation when, after the match, he was driven around the ground in a golf cart.

India: V. Kohli b Botha 28 ( 19b, 5x4), M. Vijay c van Wyk b Parnell 14 ( 12b, 3x4), Rohit c Ntini b Duminy 53 ( 34b, 5x4, 2x6), Yuvraj (run out) 12 ( 13b, 1x4), Y. Pathan b Theron  6 ( 8b), S. Raina c Miller b Theron 41 ( 23b, 2x4, 3x6), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 10 ( 11b); Extras (lb-1, w-3): 4. Total (for six wickets in 20 overs): 168.

Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Vijay), 2-67 (Kohli), 3-109 (Rohit), 4-110 (Yuvraj), 5-136 (Pathan), 6-168 (Raina).

South Africa bowling: Parnell 4-0-25-1, Ntini 4-0-46-0, Theron 4-0-39-2, Peterson 3-0-20-0, Botha 3-0-25-1, Duminy 2-0-12-1.

South Africa: M. van Wyk c Nehra b Praveen 67 ( 39b, 5x4, 5x6), H. Amla b Nehra 1 ( 3b), C. Ingram c Praveen b Munaf 2 ( 8b), A.B. de Villiers (run out) 14 ( 10b, 2x4), J.P. Duminy lbw b Yuvraj 0 ( 2b), D. Miller lbw b Pathan 10 ( 8b, 1x6), J. Botha c Rohit b Nehra 25 ( 22b, 1x4, 1x6), R. Peterson c Kohli b Pathan 2 ( 6b), W. Parnell c Pathan b Ashwin 14 ( 16b, 1x4), J. Theron (not out) 1 ( 4b), M. Ntini (not out) 1 ( 2b); Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-3): 10. Total (for nine wickets in 20 overs):147.

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Amla), 2-31 (Ingram), 3-88 (de Villiers), 4-89 (Duminy), 5-93 (van Wyk), 6-108 (Miller), 7-120 (Peterson), 8-141 (Parnell), 9-144 (Botha).

India bowling: Praveen 3-0-17-1, Nehra 4-0-22-2, Munaf 2-0-26-1, Ashwin 4-0-33-1, Yuvraj 4-0-20-1, Pathan 3-0-22-2 .

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