You can only imagine that there will come a day when South Africa will defy everything from the past 25 years, and escape the hoodoo that hangs over them in major world cricket tournaments. Yes, they own the first Champions Trophy in Bangladesh in 1998 which was a straight knock out, but even they won’t accept that as a major trophy victory. And their ability to fade magnificently when tournaments are on the line has become legend. Well, write up this year’s edition as another spectacular fade out.
Having been sent in to bat, South Africa had made steady progress to be 1/116 off 24 overs. Surely with the two at the crease, and with de Villers, Miller, Duminy and Morris to come, 280 looked to be a minimum score to come, and of course if they got going 320 wasn’t beyond possible. But the wheels fell off again, and in a big way. Two massive and ridiculous run outs taking out both de Villiers and Miller were exacerbated by poor shots from de Kock and du Plessis to both be bowled meant that they had lost 4/41 in nine overs, and transformed the innings from attack into survival. And survival seemed impossible, such that while Duminy batted out the innings for 20 runs from 41 deliveries, he saw the rest of his team bundled out at the other end for a paltry 191 with almost six overs remaining to be faced. Losing 9/75 it was a collapse of unprecedented proportions for a batting line up that was suggested to be the best in the world.
India’s reply was clinical. The run rate was rampant, moving at a rate that you would expect them to go at if they had been chasing that mythological 320. Losing only two wickets in the chasing, knocking off the required runs with 12 overs remaining, it really was a clinic in how to chase down a mid-sized total. Dhawan and Kohli again played methodically, and South Africa’s vaunted bowling line up had no answers. It was as massive a defeat as two similarly rated teams could manage.
Unless India is to suffer another brain fade as they did against Sri Lanka then you would think defeating Bangladesh in their semi-final this week is a formality, leaving them in the box seat to defend their title.