GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Suresh Raina struck the first century of the 2010 World Twenty20 Champion-ship as India secured victory over South Africa by 14 runs at the Beausejour Cricket Ground here yesterday.
Sent in by South Africa, India posted a challenging 186 for five in 20 overs with Raina plundering a stroke-filled 101 that left South Africa’s bowlers shell-shocked.
India then restricted the South Africans to 172 for five off 20 overs, to earn their second consecutive win of the tournament having beating Afghanistan by seven wickets here Saturday. The left handed Raina, who entered the fray at number three, faced just 60 balls and struck nine fours and five sixes and was the fifth batsman out off the third ball of the final over.
He brought up his hundred in spectacular fashion, smashing medium pacer Albie Morkel over mid-wicket for a six that measured 90 metres. However, he was dismissed off the very next ball caught by AB De Villiers trying to find the long-on boundary.
Raina, named Man-of-the-Match for this terrific innings, had some fortune early in his knock when he was caught off a Morne Morkel no-ball before he had reached double figures.
He shared in two crucial partnerships, adding 88 with Yuvraj Singh for the third wicket and 43 with Yusuf Pathan (11) for the fourth.
Singh was his usual breathtaking self in scoring 37 off 30 balls with three fours and two sixes before scooping fast bowler Rory Kleinveldt to Graeme Smith at mid-on in the 16th over.
India’s acceleration saw then plunder 75 from the last five overs, with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni finishing with 16 from six balls.
The finish was a recovery of sorts for the Indians after they lost their opener Murali Vijay off the first ball he faced, caught by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher as he pushed outside the off stump at Kleinvelt in the day’s first over.
Kleinveldt finished with two for 48 off four overs.
South Africa then got a 54-ball 73 from Jacques Kallis but failed to keep us with the demanding run rate and fell short of their target.