Can India choke the chokers,once again?

Can India choke the chokers,once again?

When India and South Africa locked horns last time in a T20 International, the men-in-blue had managed to choke the perennial chokers in the death overs. It was the last super eights match of the tournament and with South Africa already out of the contention for a Semi-final berth and India looking for a big win because of Pakistan’s superior run-rate,this match held lot of significance. Their current captain, Francois du Plessis scored a vital knock to rule out India from the semi-finals en route to their 154 run target. Indians,though gave a spirited performance in the final few overs with South Africa finally losing a thriller by 1 run after needing 14 off the last over bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Things,though have changed drastically for both teams since and they now need to fight it out for a much greater stake on the 4th of April- a place in the final of the World T20 2014. The Proteas have finally found an able ally to Dale Steyn, the young Imran Tahir who is famous for ending the career of Mark Boucher(pun intended) while India looks a completely changed outside as always on spin aiding surfaces. A closer look at both teams:

INDIA:

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni playing soccer during practice session
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni playing soccer during practice session

A team that was tagged underdog before the start of this event now looks all set to win their 2nd T20 World Cup trophy under MS Dhoni. Spectators have actually, felt bored watching India’s matches with each match proving to be low-scoring lacking the power-packed boundaries that T20 promises. Bowlers have been so clinical that India’s 2 best batsmen of this tournament have not even been able to score 200 runs each yet. Virat Kohli(170 runs at 85.00) and Rohit Sharma have been profound in almost every match. Amit Mishra with 9 wickets @ an enviable 8.77 average and Ravi Ashwin with 7 wickets at an average of just above 10 have been hard to play by. The economy rates being below 6 in T20, one gets a fair idea how India have fared in this tournament so far. The form of Dhawan is the only area,India still need to look at,with Bhuvneswar Kumar and Mohit Sharma too doing well! Yuvraj Singh, coming to form against Australia rings more warning bells for the opposition!

Head to Head:

T20I: Ind-5|SA-2
T20 WC: Ind-3|SA-1

SOUTH AFRICA:

Dale Steyn beating the Dhaka heat
Dale Steyn beating the Dhaka heat

Although in the semis,the South Africans have been far from convincing in the group stage matches. After a loss to the Sri Lankans,they managed to steal 3 narrow wins which could have been anybody’s game till the last over. That they havent gone in opposition’s favour might be reiterated to their willingness to shed the unwanted tag of ‘chokers’. Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir have been the major reason picking up 20 wickets between them at an extra-ordinary average of around 11. The form of JP Duminy,Hashim Amla and the sudden surge in form of Ab de Villiera can augur well for a team that banks on individual brilliance. The form and captaincy of the young and energetic du Plessis and the inability of other bowlers to strike poses a huge problem. The close encounters though might keep them at an advantage,provided it goes down to the final few overs. Players to watch out for: India: Amit Mishra,Yuvraj Singh South Africa: Imran Tahir,Ab de Villiers If both India and South Africa play the way they have in theur respective group matches, the road to final should be easy as a cake-walk for India but if the chokers manage to sneak this one out, either of these two have to happen: South Africans playing spin exceptionally well or Indians giving a disastrous performance both of which look unlikely in Chittagong on Thursday. But “cricket is a funny game”,they say,eh?