Warm Up matches often gain much less limelight than the mainstream matches. However, when two of the strongest sides of the world, India and South Africa are going head to head, you know something special is about to happen soon.
India and South Africa collided for the ICC T20 World Cup warm-up match in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The Saturday night event witnessed a full house at Wankhede and though this was a non-televised match, the atmosphere in the stadium was not like that. India and South Africa both put on stellar performances, but South Africa outplayed India and won the match.
India ended up for a last ball thriller, but lost the match by 4 runs. Faf Du Plessis, the South African captain, along with one of the most feared all-rounders in T20 cricket, JP Duminy helped the team win. While the South Africans piled up a total of 196, India ended the match at 192.
Kyle Abbott did the most damage, as not only did he take out Rohit Sharma early, but also bowled a very tight sixteenth over which made all the difference. Dhawan and Raina, who were having a good partnership till then, retired hurt at the 17th over, and Dhoni and Yuvraj came out to bat.
With two of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball batting against one of the most difficult bowling attack of the world, it was a visual delight for the audiences at Wankhede, as Dhoni and Yuvraj took on the daunting task of hitting 55 runs in 4 overs. The chants of Dhoni’s name resonated from all the corners of Wankhede, and they continued to resound through the stadium as Dhoni slapped Chris Morris for consecutive boundaries.
Followed by that was Dale Steyn, who the duo beat for 15 runs in that over. Abbott was next, who again bowled a good over, but Yuvraj took the final ball of the over for a six, India now needing 14 off the last over.
Morris was back again, and things started to heat up. India after 4 balls still needed 10 to win, and Dhoni hit the 5th ball of the over for a four. The stage was all set for a picture perfect finish. Six off the last ball needed, the batsman – MS Dhoni. A man who is known for his last ball helicopter finishes. Anticipation grew high – chants all around.
But alas, an anti-climatic finish for the Indian side.