Respectable Twenty20 debut for Afghanistan while Pakistan beat Bangladesh in late match.
|Raina looks to the sky as he celebrates his century [AFP]|
A magnificent 101 off 60 balls from Suresh Raina fired India to a 14-run victory over South Africa and booked their place in the Super Eight stage of the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
Raina’s score is the third highest innings in a Twenty20 international and included nine fours and five sixes as he peppered the ball around the field with superb timing and placement.
The 23-year-old enjoyed a big slice of luck in the fifth over, though, when he was caught off a no-ball from Albie Morkel.
Yuvraj Singh’s 37 contributed to a key 88-run partnership with Raina, who brought up his ton with a massive six over mid-wicket in the final over before he was caught off the next ball from Albie Morkel.
Australia made an impressive start to their campaign with Shane Watson hammering 81 from 49 balls in a convincing 34-run victory over Pakistan in the later match.
Australia’s innings ended in bizarre fashion with a five-wicket maiden but their total of 191 was always going to be tough for Pakistan.
Despite a lively 41 to Misbah-ul-Haq and 33 off 24 balls from Shahid Afridi, Australia never offered them more than a glimmer of hope.
Along with the resounding display from Michael Clarke’s team, the game will be remembered for a remarkable final over to Australia’s innings, in which left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Aamer picked up three wickets while Mike Hussey and Steven Smith were both run out.
Raina in control
With Raina in total control, India smashed 75 off the last five overs of the game in St Lucia, including a brutal 25 off the 18th over bowled by Rory Kleinveldt
South Africa found themselves struggling to keep up with the run rate.
Jacques Kallis, opening the batting, made a smart 73 off 54 balls but with the tempo too slow, a lot of work was left to the middle order.
AB de Villiers made a great attempt to snatch victory, hitting three sixes in his 31 off 15 balls before he was caught in the deep.
India won their opening group C match against Afghanistan on Saturday leaving South Africa now needing to beat the tournament’s minnows to make sure of advancing.
South Africa picked just one specialist spinner on a slow track on Sunday while India’s decision to field just two seamers worked better.
Skipper Graeme Smith, who put on 97 in partnership with Kallis, said the Proteas had paid the price for some loose bowling at the end of India’s innings and a slow start to their response.
“Jacques and I left too much to do for the middle order. We gave away too many with the bowling in the end,” he said.
“Jacques and myself couldn’t get it away there. We left with too much to do in the latter half.”
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni urged his team to deliver more of the same in the playoff stage.
“We have had a good start to the tournament and we just need to continue with this. We have not seen many sides score so many runs in the last five overs and Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina played really well for us today,” he said.