LONDON: India are on course to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals after demolishing woeful South Africa for 191 in their do-or-die clash on Sunday.
Virat Kohli’s side must win their last Group B fixture to avoid an embarrassing exit and they rose to the challenge after electing to bowl first at The Oval.
South Africa, who face elimination if they lose, found it impossible to take charge against India’s accurate bowling and only Quinton de Kock (53) produced an innings of substance.
India were aided by the shambolic South Africans, whose captain AB De Villiers failed for the third time in the tournament after being run out for 16.
In total, South Africa had three run outs as they lost their last eight wickets for 51 runs.
If India mount a successful run chase, the holders will join Group A qualifiers England and Bangladesh in the semi-finals.
The remaining last four place will be decided on Monday when the winners of Sri Lanka against Pakistan will advance.
India’s failure to defend 321 in their seven wicket defeat against Sri Lanka on Thursday had forced them into this sudden death clash, shaking Kohli’s faith in his bowlers.
Fortunately for Kohli, India were able to feast on a South Africa team bereft of confidence after a lacklustre midweek loss to Pakistan.
De Kock pierced the field for a couple of early boundaries, but that flurry wasn’t in keeping with an anxious performance from South Africa.
Hashim Amla never got into his stride and escaped early on when Hardik Pandya dropped a simple catch off his own bowling.
Ravichandran Ashwin was back for India after missing the first two games and he ended the opening partnership at 76 as he had Amla caught behind by MS Dhoni for 35.
– Suicidal –
De Kock grinded onto an efficient if unspectacular half century before Jadeja hit the opener’s off stump.
That brought De Villiers to the crease as he looked to bounce back from a golden duck against Pakistan — the maiden first ball failure of his long and successful ODI career.
With just four runs to his credit in the tournament, De Villiers was under pressure to deliver a key innings.
Once again, he came up short, this time in suicidal fashion as he went for a risky quick single, only to see his desperate dive for safety beaten by Pandya’s pin-point throw.
De Villiers trudged forlornly back to the pavilion and he was joined there moments later by David Miller, another run out victim after a farcical mix-up left both South African batsmen down one end while the bails were whipped off at the other.
It was a needless mistake indicative of South Africa’s malaise and Faf du Plessis was next to perish, for 36, after failing to read Pandya’s slower ball.
Holding South Africa without a boundary for 10 overs, India were in complete control.
Jaspreet Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar turned the screw, routing the tail with two wickets apiece to put India halfway to the last four.—AFP