Mirpur, Apr 4 IBNS | 9 months ago

Virat Kohli shined with his bat once again as India thrashed South Africa by six wickets in the semi-finals to reach their second ICC World T20 final here on Friday.

Chasing 173 for victory, India reached 176 runs by losing four wickets with five balls to spare.

Indian openers- Rohit Sharma (24) and Ajinkya Rahane (32)- got off to a good start and quickly added 39 runs on the board.

In a bid to play big shots, Sharma lost his wicket to Beuran Hendricks in the fourth over.

Sharma played four boundaries and six in his knock.

Rahane on the other hand looked in good tough and smashed two boundaries and a six in his 30-ball 32.

Kohli (72)and Rahane added 38 runs in the second-wicket stand before the Indian opener departed in the 10th over. His wicket was taken by Wayne Parnell.

Kohli kept the run-chase smooth even as Yuvraj Singh (18) and Suresh Raina (21) departed on the other end.

Raina's 10-ball 21 runs knock, which included three boundaries and a six, was crucial at the stage when India was still quite far away from the target.

Raina and Kohli ensured that India reached close to victory when the Uttar Pradesh batsman lost his wicket to Hendricks in the third ball of the nineteenth over.

Kohli's brilliant performance continued as he smashed five boundaries and two sixes in his sensational knock of 44-ball 72.

The Indian cricket icon smashed Imran Tahir for a six to reach his seventh T20 fifty.

He also smashed South African fast bowler Dale Steyn for a boundary in the first ball of the 20th over to win the match and book a seat for India in the final of the tournament which they had won in 2007.

"Today was one of those days when I needed to keep myself cool," Kohli said.

"It feels great to be in the final," he said.

For South Africa, who yet again failed to reach the final of a major cricket event, Imran picked up just one wicket for 30 runs in his four overs while Steyn gave away 36 runs in 3.1 overs without any success.

South Africa earlier posted 172 for four in their 20 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave India an early success by picking up the wicket of Quinton de Kock (4) in the first over the of the innings after South Africa decided to bat first after winning the toss.

Hashim Amla (22) and skipper Faf du Plessis (58) added 35 runs in the second wicket partnership to recover South Africa from the initial jolt.

At a time, when the duo were racing ahead by playing some good shots, R Ashwin picked up Amla in the seventh over as the scorecard showed 44 for two.

Faf du Plessis continued to destroy the Indian bowling and smashed five boundaries and two sixes in his 41-ball knock.

Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy (45*) joined in another partnership of 71 runs in the third wicket partnership to keep the momentum going for South Africa.

Duminy played Indian spinners quite easily.

Ashwin struck twice and picked up the wickets of the skipper and AB de Villiers (10), giving hopes of keeping the target below 150-run mark.

Duminy and David Miller's crucial fourth wicket partnership of 43 helped South Africa post 172 on the scorecard.

MS Dhoni gave Mohit Sharma the 20th over where he proved to be quite expensive and gave away 14 runs.

Dhoni used six bowlers on Friday including Suresh Raina who gave away 35 runs in his four overs.

R Ashwin was successful and picked up three wickets by giving away 22 runs in four overs.

Amit Mishra, who was successful in the tournament so far, gave away 36 runs in three overs and was unable to pick up any wicket.

Kumar and Sharma also gave more then 30 runs in their spells.

Skipper MS Dhoni praised 'Man of the Match' Kohli for his knock and said: "He has been consistent in all formats of the game."

He appreciated Ashwin for his 'brilliant' bowling.

India will meet Sri Lanka in the final of the tournament.

India had defeated Sri Lanka in the 50- over World Cup in 2011 to lift the trophy.

(Posted on 05-04-2014)

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