Twenty20: Young turks make their mark

India clinched a win against South Africa, with the all-round efforts of a young team whose average age is just 24.

updated: September 29, 2007 07:52 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan were already missing. To add to that, India were minus Yuvraj Singh, the man who clobbered the English bowling attack the other day.

Still India clinched a win against South Africa, with the all-round efforts of a young team whose average age is just 24.

"I think we all believed that we could do it, and when you believe in it, most of the times you can do it," Indian Twenty20 captain MS Dhoni told ESPN.

MS Dhoni and his young brigade had a pleasant surprise for every Indian with their spirited win against hosts and tournament favourites South Africa, as they booked a semi-final berth.

India were in deep trouble at 33/3 against the Proteas. In came a 20-year 20-20 debutante who was filling in the rather large boots of a certain Yuvraj Singh. The same gentleman who had hit the fastest fifty ever in cricket history, just a day earlier.

Mumbai's Rohit Sharma then put on an 84 run stand with skipper MS Dhoni that dug India out of danger. Sharma, who was eventually Man of the Match, also scored his maiden 50 in the process.

"It's fantastic the way Rohit batted. He was on the England tour and never really got the chance to play a match. It's really tough for a guy who was sitting out for a long time to come in a match and play an innings like the one he played," Dhoni added.

Sharma though wasn't the only star in that spectacular win. Four overs, 13 runs, 4 wickets, those are bowling figures that would make even a Glenn McGrath jealous!

Over the last few months, RP Singh has matured into a wicket-taking bowler. He along with Sreesanth decided to have a go at the hosts, to leave them reeling at 31/5.

The infusion of youth meant India's fielding looked distinctly un-Indian against what is one of the best fielding sides in the world.

And with South Africa dropping catches like it was nobody's business, Jonty Rhodes was left wondering which side he had been coaching!

The boys in blue now play Australia in the semi-final. But even if they lose that match, the selectors would be more than happy with the way the young turks have responded under pressure.

And raised the bar constantly to come up with some pretty extraordinary performances.