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India breeze into final against Sri Lanka through Virat Kohli's knock.

Mirpur: India's mighty batting strength blossomed to its full glory on Friday through Virat Kohli's stupendous unbeaten knock of 72 runs to ensure a six-wicket win over South Africa and a place in the final of the International Cricket Council World Twenty20 Cup.

In front a packed Sher-e-Bangla stadium, the impressive Indians transformed South Africa's impressive total of 172 for 4 into a comfortable target and won with five balls to spare.

In fact, it was a total from which South Africa had never lost, but Kohli's brilliance snatched the match out of their hands.

India will meet Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday.

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis's 58 runs off 41 balls, with five fours and two sixes, and JP Duminy's unbeaten 45 off 40 balls with one boundary and three sixes went in vain.

Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the Indian bowlers through his superb deliveries, which fetched him three wickets for 22 runs.

Kohli's knock of 72 off 44 balls contained five boundaries and two sixes.

Opener Rohit Sharma (24), Ajinkya Rahane (32), Yuvraj Singh (18) and Suresh Raina (21) all made useful contributions.

All the South African bowlers had their deliveries treated with contempt, including their strike bowler Dale Steyn, who was hit for 36 runs in 3.1 overs.

Though chasing was supposed to be tough in conditions here, India openers Sharma and Rahane began their innings on a positive note.

Rahane hit Duminy for the first four of the innings through cover, while Sharma picked two consecutive boundaries off him in the first over.

Sharma also hit Albie Morkel for boundaries and, when the fearsome Steyn was introduced, he hit him for a six.

The opening pair had put on 39 runs in 3.5 overs when Beuran Hendricks forced Sharma to offer an easy catch to Du Plessis at mid-on.

South Africa introduced their strike bowler Imran Tahir in the seventh over as soon as the power-play was completed. By then, India had scored 56 one wicket.

Rahane and Virat Kohli ran well between the wickets and put on 38 runs in 5.4 overs when Rahane mistimed a pull off Parnell for 32.

Yuvraj joined Kohli, who began to stroke the ball beautifully. The pair had put on 56 runs in 6.3 overs when Yuvraj got out. India then needed 40 runs from the last 24 balls, and Suresh Raina hit Wayne Parnell for a six and two fours to pick 17 runs from the over to ease the pressure.

Earlier, South Africa won the toss but lost an early wicket when Bhuvneshwar Kumar had Quinton de Kock, who was going for a drive, inside edge to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took a low catch for 6. Kumar continued to bowl brilliantly while Hashim Amla hit a few boundaries off Mohit Sharma.

Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced in the sixth over and he struck with the very first ball through his carom delivery. It was a beauty of a ball that pegged back Amla's off stump for 22. Ashwin gave just one run from his over and Ravindra Jadeja, who bowled the seventh over, gave just three runs away, repeatedly beating JP Duminy.

Skipper Faf du Plessis, who joined Duminy at the crease, played some aggressive shots, and in the first ten overs South Africa were 66 for 2. He also hit a one-handed six off Raina through a sweep which sailed over square leg. He reached his half-century in the 13th over and celebrated it through a six off Mishra over midwicket.

Dhoni brought Ashwin back into the attack in the 14th over.

Du Plessis hit his second ball for a six over long-on but fell to his fifth delivery, which was another carom ball. Going for a slog shot, he missed and the ball hit his arm and dislodged the bails.

Next man AB De Villiers lasted just eight balls before becoming another Ashwin victim, caught at long-leg by Rohit Sharma. Duminy then took charge and played some forceful shots. He added 43 runs in 4.3 overs with David Miller (23) and remained unbeaten on 45.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Apr 5, 2014
Words:708
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