Quinton de Kock struck his second consecutive half-century of the series to guide South Africa to an emphatic win over a strong Indian team in the third and final T20I of the series at M.Chinnaswamy in Bengaluru. De Kock spearheaded South Africa’s chase with a match-winning knock of unbeaten 79 which included six fours and five huge maximums at an astonishing strike-rate of close to 152. Courtesy this win, the Proteas levelled the 3-match series 1-1 on Sunday. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
Earlier, Team India skipper Virat Kohli surprised everyone by opting to bat first on a placid Chinnaswamy surface. Kohli’s decision to put his team out of their comfort zone completely backfired as his batsmen failed to put up a strong total on the board versus Proteas. Chinnaswamy – one of the smallest grounds, always known to favour teams chasing in the shortest format. Initially, though, the decision seemed to have worked as India raced to 54 for one in six overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. But the departure of Shikhar Dhawan sparked a collapse for the hosts and South Africans cashed in brilliantly on the opening. The visitors grabbed it with both hands, snuffing out eight Indian wickets for 71 runs. (SCORECARD)
In their chase, South African captain de Kock looked in complete control and never really allowed any Indian bowler to settle down. He added 76 runs for the first wicket with Reeza Hendricks in 10 overs and then put on another 64 with Temba Bavuma. After moving to 19 in four overs, De Kock cut loose by hitting Navdeep Saini for two sixes, and there was no looking back.
Earlier, India were stopped at 134 for nine by a disciplined South African attack. Top-scorer Dhawan blazed away to a 25-ball 36 and got India off to a brisk start that yielded them 54 runs in the first six overs.
Kagiso Rabada was expensive but picked up three wickets, while there were two apiece for Bjorn Fortuin (2/19 in 3 overs) and Beuran Hendricks (2/14). Playing in his first game of the series, Beuran Hendricks was the team’s best bowler without a doubt as he choked run-flow in the middle overs along with left-arm spinner Fortuin.
Rohit Sharma got out early but he did put pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada under pressure straight away, striking him for two boundaries in his first over one over cover and the other through extra cover.
That brought crowd favourite Kohli in the middle but Dhawan, who began the innings with a boundary, was in charge and welcomed leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi with back-to-back sixes. The first six was smashed over long-on and the for the second maximum, Dhawan sashayed down the ground, played against the turn, before striking the ball towards long-off.
Going for one too many, Dhawan mistimed Shamsi, who had his revenge after Temba Bavuma completed a neat catch. Kohli, too, followed suit as Andile Phehlukwayo pulled off a fine running catch in the deep, much to Rabada, the bowler on the occasion, and his team’s relief.
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, who improvised to scoop Dwaine Pretorius over the fine leg boundary, threw away their wickets within two balls, leaving India in trouble at 92 for five in the 13th over.
After Pant fell prey to Fortuin’s smart piece of bowling, Iyer stepped out out only to be stumped off a wide ball. It was yet another failure for Pant and once again to a left-arm spinner. After Santner accounted for him in the World Cup, Fortuin has now got him twice in two games.