‘Virat Kohli’s positive vibe rubbed on India, AB De Villiers couldn’t do that’

Virat Kohli-led India showed positive intent to defeat South Africa and enter the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-finals, according to Harbhajan Singh. AB de Villiers failed to do that, he adds

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 12, 2017 18:29 IST
Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli-led India beat AB De Villiers-led South Africa to enter ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-finals.(AP)

It was perfect Sunday for Team India. We got things right from the start by winning the toss and electing to bowl. It was important to put South Africa under pressure. The manner in which India’s bowlers operated in the first 10 overs was the perfect example of how not to give away cheap runs.

It was a game in which the desire to win mattered a lot, and South Africa simply did not turn up. Their approach and intent wasn’t positive and that essentially played a very crucial role in the way it lost. They needed to rise to the occasion and South Africa just didn’t do that.

Watch | India vs South Africa, ICC Champions Trophy 2017, match video highlights

At the international level, the margin for error is always minimal, and South Africa did not play the big moments well. Not only did their batting unit suffer a collective failure, but also made silly mistakes, thereby, allowing India to control the game.

You don’t see three run-outs in an innings that often. Dismissing AB de Villiers and David Miller with their brilliant fielding, Team India enjoyed a huge boost in confidence.

Read | Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar - Virat Kohli’s pace twins in Champions Trophy

I did not expect South Africa, the world’s top-ranked ODI side team, to choke yet again. I thought they had shed the choker tag, but I was clearly wrong. I just don’t understand why South Africa fall short of expectations at the global tournaments year after year.

It was always going to be an easy chase for India, considering they had dismissed a world-class team for a paltry total of 191 runs. This was a very commendable feat and special credit must go to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, who was just fantastic. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the spinners also chipped in when it mattered.

Read | India vs South Africa: Soft dismissals cost us the match, says AB de Villiers

It was a fantastic bowling effort from India. The pacers did a great job by bowling dot balls in the first 10 overs. It surely must have made South Africa go on the back foot. That effort went a long way in helping India dominate South Africa on the day.

Talking about the batting department, Shikhar Dhawan just keeps getting better with every outing in this tournament. You can expect the likes of Virat Kohli to come and keep things steady right till the end, especially when the team is chasing. Just like last Sunday, this was a 10-on-10 performance.

Read | Champions Trophy: You have to sometimes say things that hurt, says Virat Kohli

Kohli and de Villiers are teammates in the Indian Premier League, playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, but you can tell how apart they are right from the manner in which they approach games.

Kohli’s intent has always been so positive. It shows when he steps on to the field. On the other hand, you just don’t see that from de Villiers. This is where Kohli beats him. And such things do matter, even more so when you’re the captain of the side. The team catches on to such vibes and that’s what separates a winning team from the rest.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: South Africa missing spark in game, says Graeme Smith

Despite the defeat, South Africa is still a very good, quality side. All they need to do is get together and believe in themselves. South Africa need to change the approach like how England did after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. You can see how expressive its game has become since then.

South Africa needs to come up with a plan and figure out why it doesn’t perform well in major tournaments. It is a quality side, but sadly it doesn’t play as well as India and the other big guns. That needs to change if it is to win anything major in the future.

Courtesy: www.icc.cricket.com

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 18:23 IST