Virat thrashes SA into submission
Tribune News Service
Mohali, September 18
India’s preparations for next year’s World T20 have begun on a winning note with Virat Kohli’s men registering an effortless seven-wicket win in the second T20I against South Africa here today. Kohli (72*) and Shreyas Iyer (16* ) showed there were no hiccups in chasing a target of 150 against a middling South African team with one over to spare.
India lost three wickets — Rohit Sharma (12), Shikhar Dhawan (40) and Rishabh Pant (4) — but it did not matter much on a day when Kohli took it upon himself to scale another peak in his phenomenal career. The Indian captain became the highest T20 run-getter (2441 in 71 matches), overtaking Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma (2434 in 97 matches).Kohli’s knock, combined with some tight bowling by the newcomers towards the end of South Africa’s innings, made it look like just another day in office.
However, there were some sensational fielding efforts by both sides that made the match worth watching. During India’s chase, Shikhar Dhawan (40) was sensationally caught by David Miller off Tabraiz Shamsi, who took a left-handed stunner at long-on to dent India chase at 94/2. Miller’s jaw-dropping athleticism left Dhawan and Kohli in awe as they stopped short of marvelling at his outlandish effort.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock (52) led the Proteas charge singlehandedly, hitting pacer Navdeep Saini for a hat-trick of fours in the third over, the first boundary leaping through the slips, the second lancing through extra cover and the third piercing through the midwicket region. The South Africa captain, who has a reputation of being India’s eternal nemesis, made good use of the Powerplay, hitting eight boundaries in his stay of just 37 balls. Kohli finally cut his stay short with a brilliant catch, running to his left from mid-off and completing it with a deep dive, Saini being the bowler.
Temba Bavuma (49), at the other end, made sure that South Africa were on the job at 78/1 after 10 overs. Later, the South African innings tapered off before Dwaine Pretorius (10*) and Andile Phehlukwayo (8*) set a target 150 to the home team.
Right-arm medium-pacer Deepak Chahar (2/22) was the most successful bowler for India but South Africa’s below-par total was mainly due to the bowlers utilising the conditions well and some outstanding catches by the Indian fielders.
As hinted by the Indian team management before the start of the series, Kohli began the home season with three spinners, three pacers and a handful of all-rounders. However, his desire to see the middle-order and the lower-order come good in a pressure situation remained unfulfilled as he himself completed the job.
Pant again got out cheaply when he was caught at short fine-leg off Bjorn Fortuin in the 14th over. He still remains under the scanner till he comes out to bat next. For South Africa, three players — batsman Temba Bavuma, spin-bowling all-rounder Fortuin, and pacer Anrich Nortje — made their debut, which did seem to hamper them.
As many as three pitch intrusions, two during the Indian innings and one during the South African innings, were witnessed but without any untoward incident.