Lungi Ngidi was a late inclusion for South Africa on Sunday and made an immediate impact, dismissing India’s two dangerous openers and Virat Kohli in an incredible showing in Perth.
India skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat against South Africa in the battle of unbeaten sides bidding for a semi-final spot at the Twenty20 World Cup.
India made one change from their win against the Netherlands with Deepak Hooda coming in for Axar Patel in the second match of a double-header at the Perth stadium.
India edged out Pakistan in their opening match and a third win would boost their hopes of sealing one of the two final-four places in Group 2.
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South Africa, led by Temba Bavuma, are a point behind table-toppers India and Bangladesh after a washout against Zimbabwe and a thumping victory over Bangladesh.
The Proteas selected an extra pace bowler in Ngidi on a pacy and bouncy pitch, which earlier witnessed Pakistan restrict the Netherlands to 91-9 and win by six wickets.
Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi misses out for South Africa, who have never won a cricket World Cup.
The decision to bring Ngidi in paid dividends right away, with Rohit Sharma departing for just 15 runs in a dream start.
KL Rahul’s struggles, meanwhile, continued as he fell for nine after being caught at first slip on a nothing shot. It was Rahul’s third consecutive single digit score.
It was far from an ideal start for India but the in-form Kohli was next in and it was expected that he would once again steer the ship.
Ngidi though had other plans as India’s top-order continued to crumble, with Kohli going for just 12 runs.
The hits kept coming for India and South Africa’s pace bowlers wreaked havoc, with Deepak Hooda gone for a duck as Anrich Nortje claimed the wicket this time around.
India just could find an answer to the South African bowling masterclass, although it was a stunning catch from Kagiso Rabada that saw Hardik Pandya dismissed in Ngidi’s fourth wicket.
It comes after India’s batting coach said on Saturday that his side is not fazed by fast bowling as it prepared to face South Africa on a bouncy Perth pitch.
28 off 8 – India pull off ALL-TIME win | 02:37
One of the favourites to win the tournament, India have had a perfect start to the Super 12 stage with two wins, including one over arch-rivals Pakistan.
A win against the Proteas on Sunday would all but ensure a semi-finals spot. But a South African attack featuring Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell and Anrich Nortje is set to test Indian batsmen on a Perth track that has provided pace and bounce aplenty in the World Cup so far.
Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour, however, expressed confidence in his side’s ability to navigate the conditions.
“The group of batters that we have in our team, I don’t think pace really bothers us that much,” he said.
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