Cape Town – India will be favourites not only in the minds
of many critics but by statistical ammunition as well when they tackle South
Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final in Dhaka on Friday (15:00 SA time).
More likely to feel at home on the expected turning pitch at
the Shere Bangla National Stadium anyway, the unbeaten, group-winning Indians
will enter the clash knowing that they hold a clear-cut 5-2 edge in victories
after seven prior meetings between these foes in the T20 format.
Four of those fixtures have been in the global get-together,
with India claiming three wins to the Proteas’ one.
The figures paint a fairly daunting picture, but at the same
time Faf du Plessis’s team have quite enjoyed their unsung status at the event
and will doubtless treat Friday’s match as a further opportunity to punch above
their anticipated weight -- rather than be burdened with their old ICC-tourney
reputation as giants who fall over their own feet when the going gets tough.
That said, if South Africa want to try to grab any solace
from previous meetings, it is that they have only played India once before in
Subcontinent conditions at T20 level ... and on that occasion they came within
a very whisker of an upset.
In what was also the last T20 encounter between the two
nations, at the Sri Lankan-staged ICC World Twenty20 of 2012/13, last man Morne
Morkel was bowled off the second last delivery at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium
as the Proteas were agonisingly bowled out for 151 in reply to India’s 152 for
six to succumb by one run in a group game.
They have not yet played each other in India, with the three
strictly bilateral meetings all having been once-off affairs on South African
soil (two Wanderers, one Moses Mabhida Stadium) and India holding a 2-1 edge
there as well.
Their overall T20 history against each other began in the
2006/07 season, when India won by six wickets with a ball to spare at the
AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel are likely to be the only
two South African survivors from that meeting who will take to the field for
Friday’s semi (assuming Morkel is passed suitably fit after his finger
dislocation against England a few days back).
Even at that pretty infant stage of T20 as an
international-level concept, the Proteas had already identified certain
specialists in the game’s most condensed format, so the likes of Loots Bosman
and Tyron Henderson had cracked the nod then.
South Africa’s most satisfying victory of the mere two
they’ve achieved over India has to be the 12-run one achieved at the
England-hosted World T20 of 2009, when they were able to defend a modest total
of 130 for five (De Villiers 63).
Their heroes then were the spin duo of Johan Botha (4-0-16-3)
and Roelof van der Merwe (4-0-13-1) who strangled the life out of India’s
renowned strokeplayers as the side batting second were curtailed to 118 for
eight in their 20 overs.
Perhaps that will serve as a motivator on Friday for the
likes of in-form Imran Tahir and his slow-bowling partner JP Duminy ...
These are all the T20
results between the countries:
2006/07, Johannesburg: India won by six wickets
2007/08 (World T20), Durban: India won by 37 runs
2009 (World T20), Nottingham: SA won by 12 runs
2010 (World T20), Gros Islet: India won by 14 runs
2010/11, Durban: India won by 21 runs
2011/12, Johannesburg: SA won by 11 runs (D/L method)
2012/13 (World T20), Colombo: India won by 1 run
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