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Images: Sachin ton in vain as SA edge India

Last updated on: March 12, 2011 23:56 IST

Peterson takes SA across finish line

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India paid a heavy price for a stunning batting collapse as South Africa held their nerves to pull off a thrilling three-wicket victory in a World Cup Group B encounter in Nagpur on Saturday.

Sachin Tendulkar's blistering 111 went in vain as India suffered an inexplicable batting collapse by losing nine wickets for a mere 29 runs to fold up for 296 in 48.4 overs after electing to bat.

The South Africans overcame some anxious moments before rattling up the target with two balls to spare at the VCA Stadium at Jamtha.

The Proteas needed 13 runs off paceman Ashish Nehra's last over but tailender Robin Peterson swung the game in their favour by hitting a four and a six in the first two balls to take his team home in a pulsating game which saw fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other till the last over.

Peterson took two from the third ball of the last over before hitting the winning runs -- a boundary -- to take South Africa to 300 for seven in 49.4 overs as the packed stadium was stunned to pin drop silence.

For India, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took three for 53 from his nine overs while paceman Munaf Patel got two wickets for 65 from his 10 overs.

With this win, South Africa have brightened their chances of making to the quarter-finals with six points from four matches and the two remaining matches coming up against Bangladesh and Associate nation Ireland.

Despite the loss, India, who are virtually in the quarter-finals before today's match, still top Group B with seven points from five matches. They play their last league match against West Indies in Chennai on March 20.


Image: South Africa's Faf du Plessis hugs teammate Robin Peterson (right) after defeating India
Photographs: Reuters
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India set 296 after Sachin ton

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Earlier, the Indian batsmen undid all the hardwork done by Tendulkar (111 from 101 balls) as they were comfortably placed at 267 for one in the 40th over.

Tendulkar slammed a blistering ton before India suffered a stunning batting collapse, losing nine wickets for 29 runs, to be all out for 296 in 48.3 overs.

So inexplicable was the batting collapse that it even overshadowed Tendulkar's 99th international ton and his involvement in two century partnerships for the first two wickets.

Till Tendulkar (111, 100 balls, 8x4, 3x6) was around, 350 was very much on cards but once he was dismissed, the other Indian batsmen were in a mood to commit hara-kiri.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar celebrates after scoring his century
Photographs: Getty Images
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Indian batsmen fall to 'Steyn gun'

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It was irresponsible batting by the likes of Yusuf Pathan (0), Yuvraj Singh (12), Virat Kohli (1) as the track was one of the flattest in the country. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 not out) haplessly watched from the other end as wickets fell in a heap.

The much talked about batting Powerplay that has thrown quite a few surprises in the tournament saw Indians losing four wickets for just 30 runs as South African bowlers made a strong comeback after being hammered for the better part of the first 40 overs.

From being 267 for one in 39.3 overs, the packed crowd couldn't believe when Dale Steyn took his fifth wicket (5 for 50) to bowl the hosts out for less than 300.


Image: Dale Steyn celebrates the wicket of Yusuf Pathan
Photographs: Getty Images
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Sehwag murders SA bowlers

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However it wasn't the way Indians started their innings. They were off the blocks in a flash after Dhoni elected to bat.

After a couple of patchy performances against the associates, Tendulkar rose to the occasion against a Protean attack, which didn't have an answer to his swift yet brutal assault. It was his 48th hundred in ODIs and sixth in the World Cup history.

With the dangerous Virender Sehwag (73, 66 balls, 12x4) also in a murderous mood, the duo added 142 runs for the opening wicket in only 107 balls to lay the foundation for a big total.

Although Sehwag reached his half century first, it was Tendulkar who achieved the mini milestone in 33 balls to Sehwag's 44.


Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Reuters
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Tendulkar at his graceful best

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Tendulkar also had a 125-run second wicket partnership with Gautam Gambhir (69, 75 balls, 7x4), who wasn't exactly at his fluent best.

As Sehwag butchered the bowling, Tendulkar's innings was all about grace, even while scoring at a pace of more than run-a-ball.

The back drive off Morne Morkel was hit straight and easily qualified as the best shot of the day.

When Dale Steyn, coming back for his second spell dug one short, the maestro positioned himself perfectly for a hook shot over deep backward square leg.

When the spinners came in, Tendulkar came down the track to whip Robin Peterson past mid-on for a boundary.

The highest run-getter in international cricket then lofted Jean-Paul Duminy over mid-on for his second six.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Reuters
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Sachin, Sehwag plunder bowlers

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There was a lean period when Sehwag was dismissed but Tendulkar was not the one to get bogged down for long as he hoisted Peterson over long-on for his third six to break the shackles as he entered the 80s.

The 99th international ton (48th in ODIs) came in the 36th over when he pushed a Morkel delivery to cover point for a single. It came in 92 balls with seven fours and three sixes.

If Tendulkar's batting personified impeccable footwork and perfect balance, Sehwag's batting was about brute power. The very first ball of the match bowled by Steyn was hit over mid-on.

In the very next over, Morkel couldn't believe his luck when a thickish edge off Sehwag's blade flew threw the gap between wicketkeeper and first slip. It was keeper Morne van Wyk's catch but the glovesman didn't even attempt for the ball which came at a catchable height.

That was the last time during the first 10 overs that South Africans enjoyed any luck. Playing on a shirtfront like strip where the ball was coming onto the bat nicely, the South African pace duo's strategy of trying to hit back of length misfired.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Getty Images
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Gambhir assists Tendulkar

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When Morkel tried hitting back of length, Sehwag repeatedly rocked onto the backfoot to slash him over point.

When he pitched it up, Sehwag drove him through mid-off.

The century partnership came off 71 balls in less than an hour with Sehwag first to reach his half-century in only 44 balls with 10 boundaries.

When the spinners came along, Sehwag started playing the deliveries late with the turn. Also he hit a few inside out strokes over extra cover.

It was part-time leggie Faf du Plessis who dismissed the Nawab of Najafgarh in the 18th over when he tried to cut a delivery that was too close to his body thereby dragging it on to his stumps.

India lost a bit of momentum once Sehwag was gone but Tendulkar-Gambhir did well enough to add 125 runs but what followed after the dismissal of the duo was inexplicable.


Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Reuters
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Smith continues to be Zaheer's bunny

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Starting the run chase, South African openers Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla began on a cautious note as they added 41 runs before Zaheer Khan dismissed his 'bunny'. It was not a good delivery as it was pitched wide but the South African captain went for a drive and was holed out to Tendulkar at mid-off.

In-form Amla, in company of Jacques Kallis (69 off 88 balls), then carried on in a business-like manner. They ran the singles well pushing it into the gaps and punished the occasional loose balls. Kallis was the dominant of the two in their 85-run second wicket stand.


Image: Graeme Smith (left) walks off the field after he was dismissed by Zaheer Khan (centre)
Photographs: Reuters
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Amla dismissed by Harbhajan

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Amla, who looked solid during his innings of 72-ball 61, was dismissed when Harbhajan got one to bounce and turn enough to kiss the edge and Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the catch gleefully.

Kallis was joined by AB de Villiers (52 of 39 balls) and just when they looked like conjuring up a partnership of significance, the veteran batsman fell short of his ground while trying to complete a second run. Harbhajan's flat throw from deep square leg went right into Dhoni's gloves before whipping the bails in a flash.


Image: Hashim Amla
Photographs: Reuters
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De Villiers, Kallis perform rescue act

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The turning point of the match was, however, the dismissal of de Villiers (52 of 39 balls). De Villiers, who has scored two hundreds in the tournament, cut loose along with JP Duminy (23) as they hit some innovative shots, knocking down 52 runs during five overs of batting Powerplay.

De Villiers, who batted with a runner later in his innings, became Harbhajan's 250th ODI scalp when his slog sweep was smartly taken by Virat Kohli in the deep. The off-spinner then removed Duminy as Dhoni managed to stump him after fumbling initially.

Finally it was Robin Peterson and Faf du Plessis who saw the Proteas through in an intense encounter that went down the wire.


Image: AB de Villiers
Photographs: Getty Images
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