SA beat India in style to set up decider in Cape Town
4 weeks ago Yash Soni 0
The day didn’t start off in the most positive fashion, after the rain threatened to spoil the party, having already been responsible for the wash-up between the Women’s T20I earlier in the day. But the rain Gods mercifully cleared out at just about the right time and the play started as usual, after SA won another toss and skipper JP Duminy decided to put India in first. SA was playing the same XI that played at The Wanderers, while India brought in Shardul Thakur in place of Jasprit Bumrah, who was suffering from abdominal cramps.
South Africa got off to the perfect start when Rohit Sharma was caught plumb in his crease by a quick in-seaming delivery from Junior Dala in the second over after Chris Morris had begun things with a maiden over to Shikhar Dhawan. Comeback man Suresh Raina steadied the ship a bit with Dhawan and the former was looking in ominous touch. Dhawan picked up right where he left off at Johannesburg, scoring three fours and two sixes before he threw his wicket, chipping a generous full-toss from Duminy straight to Behardien at mid-on. Captain Virat Kohli endured back-to-back failures as he gloved a short delivery from Dala off to the keeper Klaassen. This was his first single-digit score on this tour in coloured clothing.
Raina and Manish Pandey took their time to re-stabilize a little after losing three wickets inside the powerplay. The duo put on 45 off 31, before Andile Phehlukwayo got the wicket of a dangerous looking Raina on 30.
With the top order failing, this was a rare opportunity for the middle-order to play a big role and take India to a decent total. And that was exactly the case, as Manish Pandey alongside MS Dhoni who turned back the clock, put on an unbeaten partnership of 98 from 56 balls. Dhoni characteristically took his time to get going, playing out the first couple of overs looking to simply rotate the strike. A slight drizzle was almost a constant to the scenery throughout the game, making it difficult for the bowlers to get a good grip.
Meanwhile, both batsmen were going nicely, getting a boundary pretty much every over and setting up a decent platform for the launch in the last 4 overs. And launch they did, as India scored 55 runs in the last 4 overs, including 17-run final over from Dhoni, taking him to just his second fifty in this format.
India finished with a more than respectable total of 188/4 in their 20 overs, owing to a 48-ball 79 from Pandey and a 28-ball 52 from MSD. It was going to take some chasing from the hosts, with an under pressure, and relatively inexperienced batting line up.
— Manish Pandey (@im_manishpandey) February 22, 2018
With the constant threat of a rain-stoppage around, it was imperative that SA get off to flier to stay ahead of the DLS
par score. It wasn’t to be really, as they managed only 15 of their first three overs. The 4th over started nicely with Reeza Hendricks hitting a two 4s of two balls, but ended badly for them with JJ Smuts being put out of his misery after an uncomfortable inning. Duminy came out at number 3 and immediately looked in great touch, much like his Indian counterpart batting at the same position. SA was looking to up the ante, scoring 14 runs off the fifth over, but yet again an over with early boundaries brought a wicket on the last ball, this time of Hendricks who holed out to Hardik Pandya at deep mid-wicket from a knuckleball by Thakur.
South Africa promoted the dangerous Heinrich Klaassen to number 4, owing to the need of some boundaries to try and get ahead of the DLS par score. And he did exactly that, as he hit two out of the park in the first over he faced. He was brought out to do a job, and he ended up doing much more than that, as he and JP put on a match-winning partnership of 97 off just 8.1 overs. Klaassen took a liking to especially Chahal, as he took him apart with multiple sixes. It was a day to forget for the leggie. He ended up with horrific figures of 0/64 in his 4 overs.
— DNA (@dna) February 22, 2018
India sensed an opening when Klaassen and Miller fell quickly in a space of 10 balls, with SA needing 48 runs to win from 31 balls. But JP Duminy, along with Farhaan Behardien, ensured that there were no more hiccups along the way as they breezed over the line with JP getting there in style with back-to-back sixes.
Klaassen went home with the MoM award for his blitzkrieg of 69 in just 30 balls.
The teams now head off to Cape Town, for the final game of this long, gruelling tour, with the series nicely poised at 1-1 and all to play for. It promises to be another cracker.