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Thisara feeling better to play against Pakistan: Mathews

12 Juin 2017

After this win, India has entered the semi-finals of International Cricket Council's (ICC) ongoing Champions Trophy.

"I can not pin point any negatives from today honestly".

"Obviously he is a big player for us, and he was looking good and it was a crunch time in the game". The Proteas lived up to their "Perennial Chokers" tag in a virtual quarterfinal clash that turned out to be a thoroughly one-sided encounter.

Getting those runs on the benign Oval pitch was never going to be hard, nor were India in the mood to mess it up despite losing Rohit Sharma early.

It was Dhawan's third 50-plus score in the competition, while skipper Kohli made amends for a rare failure against Sri Lanka in style, notching up his 41st ODI half century.

As the partnership between Dhawan and Kohli went past 100, it was clear there would be no late fightback from South Africa. Dhawan finally departed in the 31st over for 78, with 12 fours and one six. Set 322 to win, Sri Lanka knocked off the runs with eight balls to spare thanks to contributions from Kusal Mendis (89), Danushka Gunathilaka (76) and Mathews (52). The wicket didn't change much.

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"It was a decent wicket to bat on".

"Our bowlers bowled really well and the fielders backed it up. That's what I believe in", he said.

Earlier, the Men in Blue came out with a brilliant performance, both with the ball and in the field, to bowl out South Africa for a paltry 191 in 44.3 overs. However, once Ravichandran Ashwin-playing his first match of the ongoing Champions Trophy-got the wicket of Amla, things just started to fall apart for the AB de Villiers-led side. You have to be good enough to do that for the country and you have to be good enough to bounce back, as well. Pandya not only did his job well but also claimed the wicket of du Plessis after which the South African innings fell apart. However, like the Pakistan match, he dragged one back off Hardik Pandya and got bowled.

Batting first, the Proteas struggled against an India seam unit that kept a tight leash on a slow surface that offered no bounce or seam movement. JP Duminy was the only recognised batsman in the middle and he too could not stay long and help his side reach to a respectable total. "Credit to them in those first 15-20 overs, they put the pressure on us", De Villiers said. "We grabbed the the chances that came our way". "It was good to see the intensity from the boys", said Kohli. "This kind of fielding performance was required".

█ I looked around the dressing room before that (India) game and we didn't believe that we could beat them. "The bowlers were on the money". Mathews said, "We've got a young set of players who are still coming through the ranks and who are still unfamiliar with the worldwide level, but the skill is obviously there".

With India and Bangladesh joining hosts England in the last four and the victor of Monday's Sri Lanka against Pakistan match taking the final semi-final berth, it's been a strong tournament for the teams from the sub continent.