South Africa beat India by 9 wickets to draw T20 series
Bangalore: Indian skipper Virat Kohli's intentions were noble but with neither himself nor the rest of his batsmen delivering on the night, it was a South African show all the way at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here yesterday, the visitors leveling the T20I series with a comprehensive nine-wicket win.
Ignoring India's modest record while setting a target (the hosts have won 47 per cent of their matches after batting first which goes up to 75 per cent while chasing), Kohli, keeping next year's T20 World Cup in mind instead, chose to bat first, only to be restricted to a poor 134-9 in their 20 overs.
South Africa's new captain Quinton de Kock then took the onus on himself to ensure that the batting backed the bowlers' fine efforts. The left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman cracked a fine, unbeaten 79 (52b, 6x4, 5x6) to take South Africa home with as many as 19 balls to spare, thus squaring the 3-match series 1-1 after the first game was washed out. None of the Indian bowlers, who had done such a good job in the Mohali clash, were spared.
Earlier, save for the first six overs of Powerplay, the Indian batting effort was a sorry one. You can put it down partly to a somewhat sluggish pitch but the larger blame must be taken by the batsmen.
At 54 for 1 at the end of the sixth over, Rohit Sharma having been done in early by left-arm seamer Bueran Hendricks' away swinger, the Indians were very much in charge. Shikhar Dhawan (36, 25b, 4x4, 2x6) had greeted the left-arm spin of Tabraiz Shamshi with two successive sixes — one hit against the spin and one with it.
But the bowler had the last laugh as the batsman went for a wild slog in the following over.
When Kohli (9 off 15 balls) fell to an until then wayward Kagiso Rabada in the ninth over, well caught by a running Andile Phehlukwayo at the midwicket fence, it provided the remaining Indian batsmen — and the team batted deep on paper — just the kind of opportunity their skipper wanted to them to have.
To a man they all failed, the promising Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant falling within a ball of each other to the other left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, followed by all-rounder Krunal Pandya nicking a very impressive Hendricks, who finally ended with well-deserved figures of 4-0-14-2.
The 29-run, seventh-wicket stand between two other all-rounders Hardik Pandya (18, 18b) and Ravindra Jadeja (19, 17b, 1x4, 1x6) promised a late burst but with that too not coming about, the bowlers were left with too much to do.
De Kock, for his part, wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
India 134-9 in 20 overs (S Dhawan 36; K Rabada 3-39) lose to SA 140-1 in 16.5 overs (De Kock 79*) by nine wickets
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