South Africa whip India by nine wickets to square T20 series
Quinton de Kock’s calculated belligerence allied with a superb performance from the left-arm bowlers eased South Africa to a comprehensive series-squaring nine-wicket win against India in the third T20 in Bengaluru.
De Kock’s fourth T20I 50, this one coming off only 35 balls, helped SA make light work of India’s 134/9 after the hosts won the toss and batted first.
The visitors hunted down the target with 19 balls unused De Kock (79*) shared a 76-run opening stand with Reeza Hendricks in 10 overs before Reeza mistimed a pull shot to Virat Kohli at mid-on off Hardik Pandya (1/23).
De Kock, who was dropped off Navdeep Saini on 25 in the fifth over, tore India’s bowling attack to shreds with six fours and five sixes
SA started the chase sedately, but once Saini was taken for 15 runs in his first over, with De Kock clubbing two sixes, the inadequacy of India’s low total was laid bare.
Temba Bavuma (27*), who again came in at three, clipped two wonderful boundaries when he came in. From that point, India chased shadows at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as Bavuma and De Kock raised a 50-run stand in just 30 balls.
It wasn’t quite a phalanx of left-arm bowlers, but on a tackier than normal early season surface, they were SA’s trump cards.
Tabraiz Shamsi (1/23) was taken for two sixes in his first two balls by Shikhar Dhawan (36), but he kept things tight.
Bjorn Fortuin (2/19) displayed a fair bit of aggression for a left-arm spinner, but also proved to be a canny bowler with his deft changes of turn and pace.
The real surprise though was left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks (2/14) who not only got the ball to swing, but got to grip off the surface.
India could only score 10 fours and two sixes at a ground with reasonably small boundaries. That’s how well SA bowled.
After a customary fast start where India scored 54 in the powerplay, Hendricks got the wickets tumbling when he got the dangerous Rohit Sharma (nine) to edge to Reeza Hendricks at slip in the third over with India on 22/1.
Dhawan was the prime aggressor and took a liking to Shamsi’s offering. Having pillaged four fours and two sixes in his 25-ball stay, when Dhawan holed out to Bavuma at mid-off off Shamsi, it was the beginning of India’s terminal slide. 63/2 became 68/3 in the ninth over when Kohli (nine) picked out Andile Phehlukwayo off Kagiso Rabada (3/39) at deep midwicket.
India were still handily placed at 76/3 at the halfway mark, but their inability to get boundaries got the better of them. In all, they lost 8/71 after losing Dhawan.
Rishabh Pant (19) and Shreyas Iyer (five) fell in quick succession to Fortuin in the 13th over to leave India tottering at 92/5.
Krunal Pandya (four) then feathered one to De Kock before Hardik Pandya (14) and Ravindra Jadeja (19) mounted a recovery of some sorts.
However, both of them fell in the last over to Rabada while Washington Sundar (four) was run out.