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Suresh Raina century helps India beat South Africa

ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia:
India 186-5 (20 overs) beat South Africa 172-5 (20 overs) by 14 runs

Suresh Raina celebrates his century
Raina joined Chris Gayle as the only two ICC World Twenty20 centurions

By Mark Mitchener

India booked their place in the Super Eight phase after Suresh Raina smashed 101 from 60 balls to help them to a 14-run victory over South Africa.

Raina survived being caught off a no-ball on five to become only the second centurion in an ICC World Twenty20.

He added 88 with Yuvraj Singh (37) as the Proteas were made to suffer.

Jacques Kallis hit 73 in reply, but the Proteas were never up with the rate and must now beat Afghanistan to progress to the Super Eights phase.

West Indian Chris Gayle was the first man to hit a hundred in the World Twenty20 competition, in the opening game of the inaugural event in 2007 when South Africa were again on the receiving end.

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum is the only other batsman to score an international hundred in the shortest form of the game.

With Gautam Gambhir sidelined by a stomach complaint, India turned to Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay - playing only his second Twenty20 international - to open, and their lack of familiarity as a partnership immediately showed after Proteas skipper Graeme Smith had won the toss.

Vijay and Karthik were nearly separated after the second legitimate ball of the innings when both of them ran to the same end.

The very next delivery, Vijay edged Rory Kleinveldt to give Mark Boucher an easy catch behind the stumps.

T20 INTERNATIONAL CENTURIES
117 - Chris Gayle (WI v SA, Johannesburg, 2007)
116* - Brendon McCullum (NZ v Aus, Christchurch, 2010)
101 - Suresh Raina (Ind v SA, St Lucia, 2010)

After Karthik had steered a couple of powerful fours, South Africa thought they had the important scalp of Raina when he drove Morne Morkel to Kleinveldt who dived forward to take the catch at mid-off - only to see a no-ball signalled by umpire Aleem Dar.

Smith shuffled his bowlers early on, with Kallis the fifth seamer used in the first six overs - and his introduction worked a treat as Karthik tried to hit out and spooned a catch to the South Africa skipper at mid-on.

The end of the powerplay fielding restrictions coincided with Yuvraj's arrival at the crease, and he announced his intentions by slog-sweeping spinner Roelof van der Merwe and seamer Albie Morkel over square leg for sixes, while Raina joined in the fun by launching Kallis into the stands at long-on.

With Smith unwilling to risk handing any more overs to his spinners, Raina and Yuvraj feasted on the Proteas seam attack.

Raina chipped another six over mid-wicket after reaching his half century, while Yuvraj eventually perished when he miscued a full toss and was caught by Smith at mid-on.

606: DEBATE
Toofan09

Having scored his 37 from 30 balls, Yuvraj had proved a useful foil for fellow left-hander Raina who looked increasingly confident, hitting another six and easily eclipsing his previous best Twenty20 international score of 61.

Kleinveldt's first three overs had cost 23 but his last - the 18th - went for 25 as the powerful Yusuf Pathan justified his promotion up the order ahead of captain Mahendra Dhoni by belting a six over mid-wicket, while Raina seemed to have room to smash boundaries all around the wicket, plundering three fours before hoisting his fourth six over long-off.

The 23-year-old brought up his century in fine style by smashing the third ball of the final over high over long-on, before departing to a huge ovation as he attempted the same shot off the next ball and was caught on the rope.

Skipper Dhoni cracked the last ball for six to set the Proteas a winning target of 187.

While Van der Merwe's mauling ensured that only one over of spin was bowled in the entire Indian innings, Dhoni immediately looked to his slow bowlers to put the brakes on South Africa - eventually entrusting 15 of the 20 overs to spinners.

The Proteas needed a good start but pinch-hitter Loots Bosman, who had destroyed England at Centurion in November by hitting 94 off 45 balls at the top of the order, took 14 deliveries to score eight.

Harbhajan Singh, bowling off-spin with the new ball, used all his experience to ensure Bosman had nothing to swing at - and when he tried to attack fellow off-spinner Pathan, a miscued shot saw Bosman caught at extra cover on the edge of the circle.

Jacques Kallis hits out
Kallis scored 73 from 54 balls, but took until the 15th over to hit a six

Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and slow left-armer Ravindra Jadeja also kept it tight as the sluggish Kallis and Smith were unable to keep up with the spiralling required run rate.

Although Smith managed to hit a couple of sixes, he looked unaccustomed to batting at number three as the Indian spinners rattled through their overs.

A change of gloves appeared to bring a change of approach from Kallis, who finally cleared the ropes with two big blasts over mid-wicket in the 15th over, and another six over long-off in the next over.

But having survived a couple of run-out chances, Smith (36) perished with 69 still needed from 27 balls when Praveen Kumar's accurate throw from the deep allowed the gleeful Dhoni to demolish the stumps.

His replacement AB de Villiers needed to attack straight away, swinging Jadeja into the crowd for six at cow corner, but Kallis unerringly found the man at long-on when he tried another big hit.

Albie Morkel nearly smashed Pathan out of the ground with the biggest six of the tournament - measured at 104m - but with South Africa needing to hit boundaries off nearly every ball, Morkel hoisted the next ball into the hands of mid-off.

De Villiers swiped the 50th six of the tournament but realistically the game had gone by then, and with 24 needed from the last over, he too departed as Chawla took a superb, leaping catch and India romped home by 14 runs.

South Africa must now avoid an upset against Afghanistan in Barbados on Wednesday, in the final game of the group stage, in order to join India in qualifying from Group C.

Smith conceded that greater urgency should have been shown by the South Africans in the early stages of their innings.

"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. We have some hard work and thinking to do now."

By contrast, opposite number Dhoni was delighted by his team's barrage of runs in the final five overs.

"We have had a good start to the tournament and we just need to continue with this," he enthused. "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."



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see also
World Twenty20 day three photos
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Fluent Aussies overpower Pakistan
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Classy Pakistan edge past Tigers
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India outclass brave Afghanistan
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ICC World Twenty20 teams guide
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ICC World Twenty20 2010
17 May 10 |  Cricket
Women's World Twenty20 2010
17 May 10 |  Women's cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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