In a low-scoring Twenty20 World Cup match at Perth Stadium on Sunday, South Africa defeated the 2007 winners by five wickets as fast bowler Lungi Ngidi destroyed India’s top order and David Miller hit a crucial fifty.
India, who had won the toss and lost four early wickets, rebounded to post a respectable score of 133-9 in 20 overs under the leadership of Suryakumar Yadav (68 off 40 balls).
With two balls remaining, South Africa answered by scoring 137-5, led by Miller’s undefeated 46-ball 59.
Arshdeep Singh (2-25) delivered a superb outswinger on the first ball of the second over, caressing the outside edge of Quinton de Kock’s bat to dismiss the aggressive opener for one, giving India’s defence the perfect start.
After a successful lbw review, Rilee Rossouw was forced to leave after two balls for a duck.
When Temba Bavuma, the Proteas captain, was stuck behind for 10, Mohammed Shami got involved and Aiden Markram (52) and Miller had to take over to get the chase back on track.
South Africa started out well against spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, needing 94 from the last 10 overs on the ground with much bounce, but Markram nearly faltered at 35 when he was dropped by Virat Kohli.
Miller’s position changed from anchor to finisher when Markram was caught pushing Hardik Pandya to Yadav. He hit back-to-back sixes against Ashwin to lessen the impact of the contest.
To score the go-ahead runs, the 33-year-old hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar past cover.
Wayne Parnell had earlier batted first to begin the match, but India’s openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul both smacked sixes to get things going and have the fans on its feet.
India’s first wicket was lost when captain Sharma (15) dropped a return ball to Ngidi, who then quickly dismissed KL Rahul (9) and Kohli (12) as well.
Anrich Nortje’s outside edge catch of Deepak Hooda for a duck and Kagiso Rabada’s leaping grab at fine leg to remove Pandya (2) and give Ngidi his fourth wicket sent India reeling at 49-5 as the unrelenting pace attack continued.
In the middle overs, Yadav’s counterattacking 50 drew India back into the match. However, after he skied Parnell into Keshav Maharaj’s safe hands in the last over, the top-ranked team lost steam.
The standings have tightened considerably after Pakistan’s six-wicket victory against the Netherlands in a doubleheader in Perth, which saw South Africa take the group’s first-place spot from India and move up to second.