Champions Trophy top run scorer Shikhar Dhawan led India to the semi-finals after South Africa crumbled to 191, with three run-outs abruptly ending their qualification hopes.
Slow start culminates in a quick ending
Tight opening bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah put India well on top in the must-win contest for both sides. The dangerous partnership of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock struggled to get the ball away as they maintained a run rate below four throughout their lacklustre partnership.
Eventually, Amla fell to Ravi Ashwin after being caught behind by MS Dhoni, departing for 35 at strike rate of just 64.81. Faf du Plessis joined de Kock but also struggled to find the boundary rope before the opener was bowled by Ravi Jadeja after just starting to develop an offensive stance and moments after passing 50.
That moment was to spark an almighty downfall for the Proteas. AB de Villiers has struggled throughout the tournament and departed for just 16 as Hardik Pandya ran him out from point. Just five balls later, du Plessis was involved in another run-out as both he and David Miller saw a breakdown in communication result in both players running to the same end. Miller was the man adjudged out for just one run.
The seamers then brushed off the rest of the South Africa batting order as six wickets fell for just 49 runs. Imran Tahir was the last man to fall as a third run-out was recorded and the Proteas racked up a tepid 191.
Dhawan and Kohli lead a comfortable response
Defending their weak score against one of the strongest batting line-ups in world cricket, South Africa had a mountain to climb. They did manufacture a spark of belief when Morne Morkel surprised Rohit Sharma with an unexpected line to catch the edge and be caught behind for 12.
However, India's second wicket partnership included form batsman Dhawan and one of the greatest cricket players on the planet, Virat Kohli. With a required rate of less than four, neither player felt the need to really extend themselves as a flurry of well-executed shots prevailed.
Dhawan targeted square of the wicket for the majority of his twelve boundaries, whilst Kohli timed the ball beautiful with a number of drives offside and onside. By the time Dhawan was caught by du Plessis off Tahir the game was all but over. India were just 41 runs short of their target after the 128 partnership, with Dhawan's 78 taking him to 271 for the tournament.
Yuvraj Singh supported Kohli on his way to an unbeaten 76 as India comfortably picked off the target with eight wickets and twelve overs to spare. It means South Africa depart the tournament early, whilst India set up a semi-final clash against either England or Bangladesh with the latter being their more likely opponent.