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Virat Kohli guides India to Emerging Players Tournament title

Virat Kohli cracked a rollicking century (104) as India defeated South Africa by 17 runs to win the Emerging Players Tournament on Saturday.

Put in to bat, India scored 283 for nine in their allotted 50 overs, thanks mainly to Kohli’s 102-ball 104 and wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Shah’s 74 of 59 balls.

The South Africans, unbeaten in their eight previous matches in the tournament, were then bowled out for 266 in 46.2 overs with Sudeep Tyagi returning with figures of four wickets for 72 runs at the Allan Border Field here.

It was, however, not an ideal start for the Indians as tall South African bowler Lonwabe Tsotsobe, who returned with figures of 5 for 69, dealt twins blows in the very first over of the match to see India in a spot of bother.

He first trapped in-form Ajinkya Rahane (6) in front of the wicket soon after the opener smacked the left-armer for a six over extra cover and in the next ball had Murli Vijay LBW for a duck with a fuller length delivery with India struggling at seven for two.

Thereafter, other opener Kohli and captain S Badrinath (20) did a bit of repairing job by sharing 49 runs for the third wicket before three quick dismissals saw India tottering at 109 for five by the 22nd over.

Then came in Wriddhiman Saha, who added 78 for the sixth wicket with Kohli to get the Indian innings back on track.

Kohli was particularly strong on the leg side, collecting sixes in consecutive overs with superb feet movement. He brought up his century from 97 balls before giving a straight forward catch to F Beharsien at extra cover.

In the later stages useful contributions from leg-spinner Amit Mishra (25 off 22 balls) and Abhishek Nayar (23) ensured a 280-plus score for India.

In reply, the South African openers made a steady start to their run chase, putting on 52 for the first wicket with Rilee Rossouw particularly dismissive of India’s new-ball pair. However, the Indian bowlers brought their side back into the game, scalping wickets at regular intervals.

Rossouw slammed 35 from just 16 balls, including consecutive sixes off Tyagi, before the lanky right-arm pacer cleaned him up.

However, the wicket that effectively turned the match in India’s favour was Henry Davids, who made 82 from 105 balls.

Tyagi got danger man Davids in the 40th over, caught by Rahane at backward point after the South African opener poked his bat at a wide delivery.

Tyagi struck again in the next ball, picking up Thandi Tshabalala caught behind the stumps.

Mishra then rapped up the South African innings, picking up the wickets of D Elgar and J Theron.

Kohli emerged as the highest scorer of the tournament with 398 runs from seven matches with two centuries and as many fifties, while Taygi was the highest wicket taker with 14 scalps from six matches.

Brief Scores:

India Emerging Players: 283 for 9 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 104, Wriddhiman Saha 74, Lonwabe Tsotsobe 5-69)
South Africa Emerging Players: 266 all out in 46.2 overs (Henry Davids 82, Sudeep Tyagi 4-72).

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