De Villiers shines before India splutter in the dust

South Africa 130-5 India 118-8 (South Africa win by 12 runs)

The favourites South Africa maintained their unbeaten record and increased the likelihood of a mouth-watering World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka after victory by 12 runs in a bowler-dominated match confirmed Graeme Smith's side as Group E winners.

India, whose defence of the title ended with their defeat by England, looked to have given themselves a chance of rewarding the undimmed enthusiasm of their supporters with a win when they restricted South Africa to 130 for 5 but, on a dusty, turning pitch that was unsuitable for the short form of the game, could manage only 118 for 8 in reply.

India's spinners had stifled South Africa's attacking instincts and seemed to expose their Achilles' heel, but India's batsmen found progress equally difficult as the off-spinner Johan Botha and left-armer Roelof van der Merve turned the screw, the pair conceding only 29 runs between them in eight overs while claiming four wickets.

But for 63 from A B de Villiers, South Africa could have left India with much less to chase, perhaps even suffered defeat by the kind of margin that might have sent them to a semi-final against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Friday, seemingly a tougher proposition, rather than stay in Nottingham to meet Pakistan tomorrow.

They were 44 for 1 after five overs, but as soon as India replaced seam with spin the scoring rate slowed dramatically. The next eight overs added only 36 to the total the final five only 32.

It was an untypical performance but, as India were to discover later and New Zealand had concluded earlier, these were conditions in which fast scoring was both difficult and hazardous, so much so that at times Graeme Smith may have been wondering whether Sri Lanka at The Oval might have been the preferable semi-final.

That pairing might have come about had India, whose coach Gary Kirsten blamed the Indian Premier League for their poor showing in this tournament ("We had a bunch of cricketers who were quite tired when they arrived," he said, "the standard of cricket and the quality of cricket has been higher than we experienced in the IPL") passed the target in 15.4 overs, cutting South Africa's net run rate by enough for them to slip into second place, but by that stage they were only 89 for 5.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore