India win their first 20-20 international

Finally, India won something. It did not come easily though, and the match was won with just one ball to spare. It came at the same ground where the Aussies posted 359 in the 2003 World Cup final, the revered ground called the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Graeme Smith seems to have diverted all his luck with the bat to the toss. He again won it and chose to bat first, as he has often done in this ODI series. Zaheer Khan’s 20-20 experience with Worcerstershire came in handy as the man from Serampur rattled the South African top order with figures of 2-15 from his 4 overs. He got Smith out again LBW. The South African skipper appears to have become his bunny. I’d think Darryl Cullinan will understand that feeling pretty well 😀 . Loots Bosman isn’t showing any glimpses of the powerful hitting that he is feared for in South Africa, atleast in this series.

Anyway, South Africa didn’t really get any partnership going and wickets tumbled at regular intervals. Ajit Agarkar limped off the pitch after bowling a maiden – only for the third time in the history of 20-20 has that occured. Albie Morkel is a man who I know more for his exploits in the Hong Kong super sixes. He started tentatively, but once he got into his stride, it was quite clear that he was the best South African batsman on display. He hit one huge six off Harbhajan which cleared the scoreboard and Pat Symcox remarked that he had seen nothing like that for quite a while. Morkel fell at a crucial stage when hsi partnership with Van der Wath was threatening to take the game away from India. Robin Peterson provided the comic moment of the innings when he got runout on a free hit. You could call it lack of knowledge of the rules, or simply forgetfulness. Either way, he had only himself to blame and the Indians couldn’t believe their luck.

South Africa troddled to 126/9, maybe some 20 runs short. Van der Wath and Langeveldt didn’t allow too much room for the Indians and Tendulkar after a couple of good shots, went back after dragging onto his stumps. Sehwag played well, and India were 75/3 in the 12th over. Mongia was out in the thirdlast over after facing an eventful three balss- the first a stumping which looked out, the second- he was beaten- the third -he holed out to long on. Van Der Wath conceded a crucial four in the penultimate over, and the scored read- 9 to win off three. Smith took a gamble by tossing the ball to Peterson. Dinesh Kartik displayed nerves to steel, and promptly dispatched one over the short square boundary. That sealed the game for India, and they won it with a ball to spare.

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