Munaf guides India to narrow one-wicket win
Johannesburg: Munaf Patel led India`s stunning comeback as the visitors eked out a narrow one-run win over South Africa in a nail-biting finish in the second one-day international match, here.
After being bowled out for 190, India restricted South Africa to 189 yesterday, thanks largely to Munaf`s four wickets that also included the important scalps of dangerman Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith.
Munaf, who picked up four for 29 runs, combined with spearhead Zaheer Khan, who accounted for two dismissals, to script a historic win at the New Wanderers Stadium where fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout the South African innings.
It could have been anybody`s game till Munaf had Wayne Parnell caught at point by Yuvraj Singh to signal the end of a dramatic match in the 43rd over.
Zaheer, too, played his part picking up the wickets of David Miller and Johan Botha at crucial junctures.
Chasing 190 for a win, Smith led from the front scoring a fluent 77 off 98 balls. The skipper`s knock was laced with eight hits to the fence.
But despite a dominating performance by their skipper, South Africa lost the plot after Smith`s dismissal, and the lower order buckled under the intense pressure created by the Indian bowlers.
The duo of Munaf and Zaheer brought India back into the match by dismissing Smith, Miller and Botha in quick succession, leaving the hosts in a spot of bother.
India had nothing to lose after the hosts led by Lonwabo Tsotsobe`s inspired effort, bowled the visitors out for a paltry total after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bat first.
Munaf gave India the start they were looking for when he dismissed the dangerous Amla with a delivery that jagged back slightly from a good length, leaving the South African opener with no choice but to inside edge one to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Smith and Colin Ingram then joined forces and shared a crucial 59-run partnership for the second wicket to put South Africa in a commanding position.
Smith set the tone early by launching into a couple of dazzling shots through the off side off Munaf.
The South African captain first drove Munaf through mid-on and then, slashed one through the point region for another boundary off the same bowler.
He then chose nemesis Zaheer for a boundary, pulling him through midwicket. Smith meted out a similar treatment to first-change bowler Ashish Nehra, moments before whipping off a Munaf delivery through fine-leg.
Smith`s dominance had a positive impact on Ingram, who lofted Nehra over long-on for the maximum.