India vs South Africa 3rd T20I: South Africa thump scrappy India by 9 wickets to level T20I series
- The South Africans chased down the 134-run target in 16.5 overs.
- De Kock made ample use of his familiarity of the conditions to stay unbeaten.
- India had started the season in the hope of finding a suitable combination for the T20 World Cup, but they still seem to be some distance away from doing it.
On Sunday, in a match in which rain was predicted to play spoilsport, the visiting South Africans, marshalled by skipper Quinton de Kock's unconquered half-century (79 n.o, 52, 6x4, 5x6), played party poopers as they romped home to a nine-wicket win to level the series 1-all. India had won in Mohali by seven wickets last Wednesday.
Chasing a below-par 134 for 9, the South Africans, much like the Indians in the previous match, chased down the target without much ado in 16.5 overs.
De Kock, who was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore until last season, made ample use of his familiarity of the conditions to stay untroubled by the Indian bowling attack. There was no extravagance or needless aggression in his batting. He shared a 76-run opening stand with Reeza Hendricks (28) before finishing with finesse with Temba Bavuma (27 n.o) for company.
Earlier, with an eye on a series win, the home side began well but it didn't take them long to lose fizz and the plot to end their quota of overs with 134, of which the bowling side contributed 15 extras.
South Africa, decided to open the attack with left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin (2-19), who made his T20 debut in Mohali three nights back. Shikhar Dhawan (36, 25b, 4x4, 2x6) pulled the first ball to the fence to set the tone, but the 24-year-old kept it tight thereafter. India's big over was to follow with Kagiso Rabada (3-39) spraying the ball all over the pitch and conceding 17 runs including seven wides.
Beuran Hendricks (2-14), who has had a start-stop-start T20 career, made his 11th T20 international appearance in five years count as an unsure Rohit Sharma edged him to Reeza Hendricks at first slip.
The partnership between Dhawan and Kohli came with a lot of promises, especially with Dhawan in an entertaining mood. He danced down the wicket twice in a row to send spinner Tabraiz Shamsi's deliveries beyond the ropes. The 41-run second wicket stand with his captain ended when he mistimed a turning ball from Shamsi, lofted it and Bavuma came in from extra cover to hold on to the catch.
Thereafter, a parade of the Indian players to the pavilion began with the hosts losing five wickets for the addition of a mere 35 runs. The runs, boundaries in particular, dried up and the fact that they went from 63 for 2 in the eighth over to end with 134 painted a grim picture of poor shot selection and lack of application which was compounded by some disciplined bowling from the opposition.
On a wicket which had slowed down, a sluggish Kohli, who was dropped by Fortuin off his own bowling on three, made little use of the lifeline and instead was first of Rabada's three wickets. Much was expected from the under-fire Rishbah Pant and the talented Shreyas Iyer but both made a mess of the opportunity they were presented with to showcase their wares. Both the batsmen were sent back by a disciplined Fortuin. There was hope from the Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal but that too did not materialise.
India had started the season in the hope of finding a suitable combination for the T20 World Cup, but they still seem to be some distance away from doing it.