After outclassing South Africa in the “virtual quarter-finals” on Sunday, Indian skipper Virat Kohli asserted that it was their best performance of the ICC Champions Trophy so far.
It was a “must-win” fixture for India to avoid an embarrassing exit and they rose to the challenge with a ruthless display and defeated South Africa by eight wickets to storm into the semi-finals of the ongoing event.
“I cannot pin point any negatives from today honestly. It's probably our most complete game yet,” said Kohli in the post-match conference.
South Africa, currently the top-ranked ODI side, however lived up to their 'Perennial Chokers' tag in a virtual quarter-final clash that turned out to be a thoroughly one-sided encounter.
Chasing a lowly target of 192, the defending champions lost two wickets and crossed the line in just 38 overs.
This win took India's points tally to four points, while South Africa, with only two points from three matches, were eliminated.
“We grabbed our opportunities and that helped us restrict such a strong batting line-up to 190. Always good to get him (AB de Villiers) out early. He can really hurt you in the middle overs. It was great breakthrough for us. It was good to see the intensity from the boys,” said Kohli.
Apart from the brilliant bowling performance, the Men in Blue were exceptional in the field as they pulled off three run-outs to put the brakes during the course of the South African innings.
“This kind of fielding performance was required. Before going out in the middle, we had a chat in the huddle where I said I wanted to see everyone's intensity go up and that is conscious effort which I want to see from everyone in such a big game,” said the Indian skipper.
“The bowlers were on the money. It actually helps the fielders to get into better positions and attack the batsmen when they know that the bowlers are hitting the right spot regularly,” he added.
India will now face Bangladesh in the second semi-final on June 15 while Group A topper England will face the winner of the final Group B fixture between Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Monday.