New Delhi: India continued their winning momentum against South Africa as they defeated the hosts by 28 runs in the first T20I at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. It was Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s five-wicket haul that helped India go one up in the three-match series after South Africa were set a target of 204 runs. Bhuvneshwar finished with figures of 5/24, his best in T20Is.
Chasing 204, South Africa lost three wickets early, thanks to some tight bowling by Bhuvneshwar, who bowled three overs upfront. JJ Smuts (14), captain JP Duminy (3) and David Miller (9) fell inside the seven overs. It was then the 81-run stand for the fourth wicket between opener Reeza Hendricks and Farhaan Behardien that brought South Africa back in the game.
However, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal removed Behardien in the 15th over to put breaks on South Africa’s scoring. The right-hander was dismissed for a well-made 37 off 29 balls.
Captain Virat Kohli then brought Bhuvneshwar back into the attack and he rewarded his captain with four wickets, including a run-out, in his last over. The over turned the match completely in favour of India as Bhuvneshwar removed Hendricks (70) who was threatening to take the game away from the visitors. Bhuvi then removed Heinrich Klaasen (16) Chris Morris (0) on back to back deliveries before Dane Patterson (1) was run-out on the last ball of the over.
South Africa were there eventually restricted to 175/9 in their allotted 20 overs.
Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan unleashed mayhem with his 72, thus powering India to 203. The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him.
After home captain Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.
Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108.
Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.
A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings. Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Panya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.
The two sides now meet on February 21, Wednesday, for the second T20I.
(With IANS inputs)