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You've got to be choking!

With a place in Twenty20 World Cup semi finals just 126 runs away South Africa's past came back to haunt them in front of a full house in Durban and millions around the world.

A pumped up India, inspired by a brilliant four-wicket performance from seamer RP Singh, scored a sensational 37-run win over South Africa at Kingsmead on Thursday night, knocking the host country out of the World Twenty20 tournament and qualifying for the semifinals with New Zealand.

India now stay in "fortress Kingsmead" for Saturday's semifinal against Australia, while New Zealand go to Cape Town to take on Pakistan - also on Saturday.

It was a night of noise and colour and Mexican waves from the capacity crowd of 21 000 at Kingsmead. It was also a night when the calculators came out and the scoreboard went on the blink. On the field, it was a night for the pace bowlers on a spicy pitch with pace and bounce that asked some tough questions of the batsmen.

It was ironic that South Africa, in losing their first match of the tournament, were blown out of the competition.

After restricting India to an apparently sub-par total of 153/5 in their 20 overs, South Africa got off to a castastrophic start with RP Singh ripping through the top order, grabbing the wickets of Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs in his first over, the second of the innings.

Gibbs was trapped leg before and Smith brilliantly caught two-handed by a diving Dinesh Karthik in the gully. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni responded by giving him the gloves, perhaps feeling that he could do a better job.

Worse was to come for the South Africans as AB de Villiers played all around a straight one from Sreesanth before the hero of the match against New Zealand, Justin Kemp, was run out responding too slowly to a short single from Mark Boucher. And when Shaun Pollock was comprehensively bowled first ball by the rampant Singh, South Africa were staring catastrophe in the face on 31/5 after six overs.

Mark Boucher and Albie Morkel nearly got the Proteas back on track, adding 69 in 68 balls for the sixth wicket, but when Sreesanth bowled Boucher with 20 balls to go, South Africa crumbled and Singh ended the argument with two further wickets and an outstanding overall analysis of 4/13.

Earlier, India were never allowed to get away to the explosive start they enjoyed against England the previous evening.

Neverthless, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had taken India to a respectable 32 in 4.4 overs when Shaun Pollock struck. The veteran paceman first had Gambhir caught at mid-off by Graeme Smith and then, two balls later, he snared new batsman Dinesh Karthik who clipped the ball tamely to Albie Morkel at mid-wicket.

And when Mark Boucher pulled off a stunning diving catch to get rid of Sehwag off the first ball of Makhaya Ntini's next over, India had lost three wickets for one run in four balls.

The Indians, who were without their king six-hitter Yuvraj Singh who was suffering from tendonitis in his left elbow, were forced to draw breath and play conservatively for much longer than they would have wished before the Rohit Sharma and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni effected a decent enough recovery, adding 85 in 58 balls to enable India to go past the 150 mark.

It shouldn't have been enough, but that was before Rudra Pratap Singh's heroics.

source - iol.co.za
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