India made a brave effort to overhaul South Africa’s tall score of 196 for 8 but finally fell short by four runs to lose their World Twenty20 warm-up cricket game at the Wankhede Stadium today.

Chasing the 197-run target set by the Proteas, India recovered from a poor start through a partnership of 94 runs between left-handers Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (41).

After both Dhawan and Raina left the field, retiring voluntarily, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (30 not out off 16 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (16 not out off 8) whittled down the target from 43 in 18 balls to 14 in the last over before India ended up at 192 for 3, to lose their first game after eight successive wins.

b’India fell short by just four runs against South Africa. AFP’

Earlier, left-handed batsmen Quinton de Kock (56) and Jean Paul Duminy (67) flourished with attractive knocks for South Africa.

India made a dismal start to the stiff run-chase by losing their two in-form top order batsmen Rohit Sharma (10) and Virat Kohli (1) cheaply inside three overs with only 16 runs on the card.

Sharma, who had cracked an unbeaten 98 in the 45-run win over the West Indies in the team’s opening warm-up game in Kolkata two days ago, hit a flat-six with a step-out slash off Dale Steyn but then was trapped plumb in front by Kyle Abbott in the second over.

Kohli, who did not play in Kolkata, tried to slog Steyn and edged to keeper de Kock to leave India in dire straights.

Dhawan, riding his luck initially, and Ajinkya Rahane (11) revived the innings with a brief stand of 32 before the latter was dismissed by Imran Tahir with a googly in the over after power play ended.

This brought together two left handers to the crease and Dhawan, now more assured, and Raina staged a fine rescue act by adding 94 runs to keep the Indian run-rate on par with their rivals’.

Raina pulled and glided Chris Morris for successive hits to the fence and then smashed spinner Aaron Phangiso over the mid wicket fence.

Feature image source: AFP