Virat Kohli's men register maiden T20I win vs South Africa at home after 7-wicket victory in Mohali
India took an unassailable lead in the three T20Is versus South Africa following a clinical show versus the Proteas at IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali on Wednesday (September 18). Opting to bowl first in the penultimate match, Kohli's men restricted South Africa to a moderate score of 149 for 5, whereas the skipper remained unbeaten on 72 to lead the way in a seven-wicket win. Thus, this also became the Men in Blue's maiden home win versus the visitors in the shortest format of the game.
Kohli called it right at the coin toss. Opting to bowl first, India got rid of Reeza Hendricks early. Nonetheless, skipper Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma, playing his maiden T20I, managed to pull things back for the Proteas. The visitors were going at a good rate in the first ten overs but De Kock's dismissal changed the complexion of the innings.
It was short of a length delivery from Navdeep Saini as the left-hander went for a mistimed pull. However, he was cramped for room and caught splendidly by Kohli at mid-off. It was a one-handed stunner from the Indian captain where he ensured the ball didn't pop out of his hand despite covering some distance. From there on, South Africa struggled to provide late impetus and managed only 39 runs in the last five overs for the loss of Bavuma and David Miller.
Deepak Chahar was the pick of the bowlers, who got some late movement and kept it tight in the death overs. He also got rid of Hendricks and Bavuma. In addition, the fielding effort from the Men in Blue assisted in keeping the run-flow under check.
In reply, India started the run-chase with a bang. Shikhar Dhawan, after missing out in the West Indies tour, looked at his fluent best whereas Rohit caught up following back-to-back sixes. Thus, he surpassed Suresh Raina (13) to hit most sixes for India against South Africa in the format.
Kohli came in place of Rohit (12) and looked in his elements. Just when the partnership was flourishing, Dhawan went for a big shot and was caught by Miller at long-on courtesy a one-handed stunner at the boundary line. While Rishabh Pant's miseries continued, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer ensured there were no further hiccups and completed the run-chase with an over to spare.
Kohli, in the process, also registered most runs in the format, going past his deputy Rohit to take his tally to 2440 runs in T20Is. His innings, comprising of four fours and three sixes, once again showed the grit and determination to excel across formats and shepherd a run-chase by taking calculated risks.
The series decider will take place on Sunday (September 22) in Bengaluru.