Dale Steyn led South Africa’s fightback with a maiden five-wicket haul to restrict India to 296 in a key World Cup match on Saturday despite a sparkling 111 from Sachin Tendulkar.
India were on course for a massive total after reaching 267-1 but lost their last nine wickets for 29 runs in nine overs in a dramatic collapse, with paceman Steyn finishing with 5-50.
Steyn, who conceded 24 in his opening three overs, came back strongly to make short work of the Indian innings in a superb exhibition of fast bowling on a flat track.
The home team, with seven points from four matches, need to win this day-night game to make sure of a place in the last eight. South Africa have four points from three matches.
Tendulkar earlier dominated the Proteas’ attack, cracking three sixes and eight fours in a 101-ball knock for his 48th one-day 100.
He now needs just one more century to become the first player to score 100 international hundreds, having already made 51 in Test cricket.
South Africa’s attack came under pressure for the first time in four matches as Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag (73) and Gautam Gambhir (69) comfortably gathered runs against pace and spin, much to the delight of a capacity crowd.
India made the most of winning the toss on an easy-paced pitch as Sehwag and Tendulkar provided an explosive 142-run start off just 17.4 overs. Gambhir continued the good work, adding 125 for the second wicket with Tendulkar.
Sehwag, who survived on four and 70, hammered 12 fours in his 66-ball knock. He began his fifth successive innings with a four when he lofted Steyn over mid-on.
He had a lucky escape in the next over, his edge off paceman Morne Morkel flying past wicket-keeper Morne van Wyk.
Sehwag did not curb his strokes after the let-off, smashing Steyn for two more boundaries and then punishing Morkel for three fours in an over as India raced to 50 off just 41 balls.
Runs came thick and fast from both the ends as Tendulkar also fluently drove Morkel through the covers and then straight-drove the next delivery for two successive fours.
Tendulkar offered a difficult chance on 47 when he lofted left-arm spinner Robin Peterson over extra cover but AB de Villiers, running in from long-off, failed to hold on to the ball even after making a superb diving effort. – AFP
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