London, June 12: On Thursday (June 8), India failed to defend 321 against Sri Lanka at The Oval. Three days later, at the same venue and a different opposition saw the bowlers put in a superlative performance. (Match scorecard)
Sri Lanka defeated India by 7 wickets and it made life tough for Virat Kohli and his men. But they rose to the occasion as they conquered South Africa in a must-win game yesterday (June 11) to seal a spot in the semi-finals. (Ind-SL match scorecard)
Kohli won the toss and chose to field and the bowlers responded to the skipper's decision brilliantly. They built up pressure on Proteas openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.
The South Africans failed to get off to a flying start against the disciplined new ball duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. (Full text of Kohli press conference)
With the fielding restrictions in place for the opening 10 overs, South Africa could not take advantage and mustered only 35 runs.
It was superb start by Indian bowlers and it continued for the rest of the match. The pressure by bowlers resulted in 2 run outs in consecutive overs. From 140/2 in the 29th over, South Africa collapsed to 191 all out in 44.3 overs. They lost 8 wickets for 51 runs.
An astonishing statistic from Indian bowling innings was the bowlers delivering 141 dot balls, which equals to 23.3 maiden overs.
Young Bumrah topped the list with 32 dot balls followed by Hardik Pandya with 29. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the only bowler in the match to have not conceded a single boundary.
He finished with 1/39 in 10 overs. It was a superb comeback by Jadeja, who was plundered for 52 runs in 6 wicketless overs at the same venue by Sri Lanka.
After the match, captain Kohli was reminded that the bowlers had bowled nearly 24 maiden overs and he said he did not know the numbers but was happy that the plans were excuted to perfection.
"See, I don't know the figures. I don't know how many maiden overs or dot balls, but something that we spoke about, we executed that, and that always feels good as a team," Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
"You know, I'm really delighted for all the bowlers to have executed their plans well in such a big game. To be able to bowl like that against a batting line-up of their capability is something that already we can feel that confidence and that energy in the change room because of a bowling performance like this, and we surely would like to take that forward into the semis," he added.
India will face Bangladesh in the 2nd semi-final on Thursday (June 15) at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Number of dot balls bowled by Indian bowlers
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (7.3-0-23-2) - 28 dot balls
Jasprit Bumrah (8-0-28-2) - 32
Ravichandran Ashwin (9-0-43-1) - 27
Hardik Pandya (10-0-52-1) - 29
Ravindra Jadeja (10-0-39-1) - 25
Total: 141 dot balls (23.3 overs). South Africa batted for 44.3 overs (267 balls - Extra deliveries which resulted due to wides have been excluded).