India prevail in last ball cliffhanger
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Scorecard:India v South Africa
Player:JH Kallis, SK Raina, DW Steyn, WD Parnell
Event:South Africa in India 2009/10

DateLine: 21st February 2010


A match that could have been wrapped up quickly went to the wire as South Africa very nearly pulled off a miracle before the visitors choked. Chasing a challenging target of 299 which India set South Africa were down in the dumps at 225 for 8 when Kallis was cleaned up by Sreesanth. But Steyn and Parnell put together a stunning partnership to take South Africa closer to win before India finally held their nerves to win the match.


Kallis elected to field first considering the dew factor that might come into play later in the evening. The famed opening pair of Sehwag and Tendulkar failed to set the stage alight as the latter was run-out going for a non-existent single. But Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik put India on the right track as they added 79 for the second wicket before another run-out ended Sehwag's stay. Dinesh Karthik's straight drive brushed bowler Charl Langeveldt's fingers before hitting the stumps at the non-striker's end with Sehwag out of the crease. After four overs Karthik also departed when his mistimed pull off Langveldt found the mid-on fielder.


It got worse for India as Kallis removed Indian skipper Dhoni and India found themselves in a mess at 138 for four. Raina and Kohli calmed the Indian nerves with a 66-run stand. Kohli fell to Morkel after the team had crossed the 200-mark. Pathan sizzled for a while and Raina, having made his 15th ODI fifty, and Ravindra Jadeja too fell in quick succession. Nehra used the long handle effectively to push the Indian score to 298.


The Indian opening bowlers kept the South African openers on a leash but after five overs when the score was on 21 Dhoni introduced Sreesanth and that changed the momentum. Sreesanth was taken apart for 15 runs in his first over forcing Dhoni to turn to Jadeja's left arm spin as early as the ninth over. Praveen Kumar cleaned up Bosman while Jadeja removed Gibbs to tilt the momentum back in India's favour. Kallis and de Villiers added 45 to give South Africa a new lease of life before Jadeja struck again. Petersen failed to ground his bat while going for a sharp single as the South African innings came apart at 134 for 4.


Kallis meanwhile got to a calm half century as the South African hopes rested on his broad shoulders. Nehra was brought back in the 28th over and he responded by removing the dangerous Morkel before Sreesanth got into the act by removing Boucher via a brilliant catch from Dhoni as the South African innings was tottering at 161 for 6. Botha fatally swept a fuller delivery from Pathan and was adjudged leg before forcing Kallis to take the batting powerplay in the 37th over. Dhoni handed the ball to Jadeja and Nehra and they did exceptionally well to keep the South African batsmen quiet with some excellent bowling.


Dhoni missed a straightforward stumping of Pathan when Kallis was 84 but that did not prove to be costly as Sreesanth cleaned up the skipper for 89. Just when it seemed that India would win comfortably Parnell was joined at th crease by Dale Steyn and the two slowly began to chip away at the Indian target. The runs began to flow when Steyn hammered 14 runs from Raina's over. Sreesanth gave away 14 runs in his ninth over and the Parnell and Steyn got one six each in penultimate over of the innings bowled by Nehra to get South Africa closer to victory. Praveen Kumar was given the duty to bowl the final over and he cleaned up Steyn with an excellent slower delivery.


The pair added 65 in 6.2 overs with Steyn being the dominant partner. Langeveldt got three runs in the fifth ball of the 50th over to give Parnell the strike and Praveen Kumar added more drama to the match as he bowled a wide in the final delivery. South Africa needed three runs to win and two runs to tie with Parnell on strike. Praveen Kumar once again bowled a slower delivery which Parnell played to third man where an accurate throw from Sreesanth in the deep found the Dhoni who took out the bails in a flash to find Parnell just short of his crease.