Three in three, then.
India’s 12-run defeat to South Africa in their final SuperEights game made it their third defeat on the bounce in the World T20. The latest misadventure in India's disastrous campaign in England was scripted at Nottingham where, chasing a modest 131, the batsmen lost their heads in a heap to hand South Africa the win. They could manage only 118/8 in their 20 overs.
Once the slow bowlers had enjoyed themselves on a track that offered more turn than the one at Lord's, India seemed well on their way to victory with openers Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma recovering their scoring touch.
With the South African pacers strangely averse to testing the Indians with short balls, Gambhir and Rohit found the going much easier than they had against England and the West Indies. The two had put on 48 runs in 6.2 overs when Johan Botha removed Gambhir for a brisk 21.
Despite the setback, India looked in control of the chase. At least, that is what it had looked like. Then, in an all too familiar collapse, they lost four wickets in 27 balls, to let South Africa back. MS Dhoni's terrible form with the bat continued here as well, with the skipper run out for five off 12 balls following a terrible mix-up with Yuvraj Singh.
There was a lot of controversy after Ravindra Jadeja was promoted ahead of Yuvraj against England, and that seemed to influence Dhoni’s decision of sending him after even Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday. This demotion could not have done the youngster's confidence any good — hardly one of Dhoni's more judicious calls.
With 25 to get in the last two overs, India's hopes lay squarely on the shoulders of Yuvraj. He, however, could not do much. He was snapped up by Dale Steyn for a run-a-ball 25 to consign India to a new low.
Smith c Jadeja b Harbhajan 26, Gibbs b Rudra Pratap 5, de Villiers c and b Jadeja 63, Duminy st Dhoni b Raina 10, Boucher c Rudra Pratap b Zaheer 11, Morkel not out 8, Botha not out 4.
Extras: (lb2, w1) 3
Total (for 5 wkts, 20 ovrs) 130
Fall of wkts: 1-13, 2-59, 3-98, 4-110, 5-120.
Bowling: Zaheer 3-0-26-1, Rudra Pratap 2-0-21-1, Ishant 1-0-6-0, Jadeja 3-0-9-1, R. Sharma 2-0-15-0, Yuvraj 4-0-25-0, Harbhajan 4-0-20-1, Raina 1-0-6-1.
Gambhir c Duminy b Botha 21, R Sharma c Steyn b Duminy 29, Raina c M Morkel b Botha 3, Yuvraj c Boucher b Steyn 25, Dhoni run out 5, Y Pathan c de Villiers b van der Merwe 0, Harbhajan c de Villiers b Botha 14, Jadeja not out 7, Zaheer c de Villiers b Steyn 4, RP Singh not out 2
Extras (lb-4, w-4) 8
Total (for 8 wkts; 20 overs) 118
Fall of wkts: 1-48, 2-55, 3-56, 4-67, 5-69, 6-100, 7-106, 8-110
Bowling: Steyn 3-0-25-2, Parnell 3-0-22-0, M Morkel 4-0-23-0, A Morkel 1-0-12-0, Botha 4-0-16-3, van der Merwe 4-0-13-1, Duminy 1-0-3-1.
Result: India lose by 12 runs, end Super8s with no points.
SA vs Pakistan at Trent Bridge: Thursday, June 18.
Sri Lanka vs West Indies at The Oval: Friday, June 19
Both the matches start at 10 pm (Indian Standard Time). Live on Star Cricket.