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Gambhir assault not enough for India
(AFP) / 30 March 2012
A blazing innings by India’s Gautam Gambhir could not prevent a South African win in a rain-hit one-off Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.
Gambhir slammed 49 not out off 28 balls as India raced to 71 for no wicket in 7.5 overs in reply to South Africa’s 219 for four in 20 overs. But South Africa’s big total meant that India were 11 runs short of the Duckworth/Lewis par score when a thunderstorm broke over the ground.
Jacques Kallis and Colin Ingram shared a rapid century partnership as South Africa posted a formidable total.
“That gave us a really good platform,” said stand-in South African captain Johan Botha. “A hundred partnership in any form of cricket is great but in Twenty20 cricket it is even better.”
Kallis made 61 off 42 balls and the left-handed Ingram raced to 78 off 50 deliveries after South Africa were sent in to bat. The pair put on 119 of 80 balls for the second wicket.
Indian captain MS Dhoni used eight bowlers but runs flowed as the batsmen took advantage of a good batting pitch, short boundaries and a fast outfield.
Richard Levi gave the hosts a fast start, hitting four boundaries before being caught at slip for 19 off seven balls.
The Kallis-Ingram stand enabled the later batsmen to go for their shots, with new cap Farhaan Behardien hitting an unbeaten 20 off 11 balls and Justin Ontong 22 off seven before Albie Morkel, coming in with only three balls remaining, hit Suresh Raina for two sixes and a four.
The run feast continued when India started their innings, with Gambhir hitting seven fours and a six. But opening partner Robin Uthappa could only manage 18 off 19 balls, while South African opening bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe conceded only 15 runs off three overs.
“The match was quite evenly poised,” admitted Botha. He praised Gambhir and Uthappa for the way they batted but said the South Africans had remained confident.
“Although they batted well, they were only scoring at nine runs an over and they would have needed to score at more than 12 runs an over for the rest of the match.”
It was announced after the match that Botha, 29, would be released from his national contract with Cricket South Africa after the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September in order to take up a two-season contract to captain South Australia in Australian domestic cricket.
The hastily-arranged match was billed as an annual fixture for the Friendship Cup and a tribute to South African all-rounder Kallis, with profits going to the Jacques Kallis Foundation which provides scholarships for talented cricketers from under-privileged areas to attend good schools.
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