It took them less than 10 overs after that to gift India the game.
Their captain Virat Kohli played down the significance of South Africa's reputation for underperforming in big games.
"It was always going to be an easy chase for India, considering it had dismissed a world-class team for a paltry total of 191 runs".
"It was a good toss to win, the wicket didn't change too much".
The quick said: "We're not thinking about the semi-final right now". While the bowlers fired as a unit, which was backed up by impressive fielding, Shikhar Dhawan (78) and Virat Kohli (76 not out) led the batting show.
South Africa are resting five first-choice players, including du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, for the T20s, with Dwaine Pretorius the only new cap. However, once Ravichandran Ashwin-playing his first match of the ongoing Champions Trophy-got the wicket of Amla, things just started to fall apart for the AB de Villiers-led side.
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De Villiers had already quit Test captaincy in 2016 and will not play in the four-match series against England later this summer. Pandya struck to snare of the wicket of Du Plessis (36) before Chris Morris (four) top-edged Jasprit Bumrah to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But we do come up short for some reason in tournaments like this, and it is pretty sad.
"I don't know. I'd like to go in the future and ask someone that gets on the other side what they did", du Plessis smiled. It was great breakthrough for us.
After opening batsman Rohit Sharma (12) fell to paceman Morkel, Dhawan and Kohli shared a second-wicket stand of 128 in 24.3 overs to hand India a comfortable victory.
South Africa could not figure out a Plan B and what they did was what they have done so often in ICC tournament - press the choke button.
"I still care deeply about the environment that I spent so much time building as a player, and it hurt to see such an unrecognisable South Africa performance". Read Also: England, Bangladesh fans look for semi-final tickets as Indians hold them " Today, those key moments in the game where you look for someone to take the initiative just seemed to pass South Africa by. "The bowlers were on the money". They were able to bowl out Bangladesh very cheaply.
India will now face Bangladesh in the second semi-final on June 15 while Group A topper England will face the victor of the final Group B fixture between Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Monday.