India pummel South Africa to enter semi-final: ICC Champions Trophy 2017

(Mussab Tariq, Gujranwala)

Virat Kohli gives a thumbs up towards the crowd after their victory.

Defending champions India made it to the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy by defeating South Africa in a must-win encounter in the final league match by eight wickets at the Kennington Oval, London on Sunday.

After bowling out the number one ranked ODI team for a paltry 191, India chased down the target with 12 overs remaining. Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with an 83-ball 78-run knock while skipper Virat Kohli remained unbeaten on 76. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah claimed two wickets each. This is the fifth-time India have reached the semi-final stage of the Champions Trophy.

What theAfter being put in to bat, South Africa were off to a good start. Openers Quinton de Kock (53) and Hashim Amla (35) started off slowly, but more importantly they looked set for the long haul. Bumrah and Kumar were on point in their respective opening spells. South Africa's first boundary came in the fourth over when de Kock connected with a length delivery from Bumrah with the full face of the bat. Amla earned his first boundary in the sixth over, getting on top of a length delivery from Bumrah and cut the ball towards the point fence. By the 10th over, South Africa had reached 35 for no loss. Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya then bowled in tandem and the batsmen chanced their arms. Ashwin was hit for a four by de Kock and Amla clobbered Pandya for a six and four in one over. However, Ashwin provided the breakthrough with the wicket of Amla in the 18th over. The South African went after a flat and wide delivery and tried to cut, but he only managed an edge that was taken by wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. Faf du Plessis joined de Kock in the middle and the duo took South Africa past the 100-run mark. De Kock soon reached his 13th ODI fifty off 68 deliveries but was cleaned up by Ravindra Jadeja for 53 off 72 deliveries.

AB de Villiers and du Plessis looked good in the early going, but a miscommunication in the middle arrested the team's momentum. De Villiers was struggling with a hamstring niggle and that eventually led to his downfall. After du Plessis took off for a risky single towards point, de Villiers, despite diving full length, could not beat Pandya's throw and Dhoni did the rest. The South African skipper departed for 16 off 12 in the 29th over. In the next over, another miscommunication led to du Plessis and new batsman David Miller finding themselves at the same end. It all started with du Plessis hesitating to run after edging one to third man. Miller made it all the way to the batting end, but du Plessis opted to stay where he was. A bad throw aimed at the strikers' end ended up at the non-striker's end and Kedar Jadhav whipped the bails. Miller departed for one.

South Africa failed to recover from the double-blow. Du Plessis finally perished to a cutter from Pandya and was castled for 36 off 50 deliveries. Bumrah was brought back in to the attack and he got rid of Chris Morris for four and then removed Andile Phehlukwayo leg before wicket. Bhuvneshwar then wiped out the tail with the wickets of Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel off successive deliveries. With a third run-out, South Africa's innings folded for 191 in 44.3 overs.

what they said after match

Kohli: This is probably our best game we have played so far in this tournament, really delighted with the way the boys turned up today. We played in Birmingham. We really like that stadium and we really like that pitch as well. It suits the kind of cricket we play. Anyone can grab the trophy, but for now our focus is only on Birmingham and bring our "A" game as we did today.

AB: It's not an ideal way to finish the tournament. Very disappointing. Credit to them in those first 15-20 overs in the field. We did not plan to play conservative cricket up front. They bowled pretty well. They didn't miss the mark a lot. We were completely outplayed today.

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