It was routine work for Team India skipper Virat Kohli who showed no signs of rustiness and slammed a dominating half-century to take India home comfortably against South Africa during the second T20I on Wednesday. Leading from the front, Kohli played an unbeaten hand of 72 to help the Men in Blue began their home season on an emphatic note at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. Courtesy this win, the hosts have take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series versus Proteas after the first game being washed out in Dharamsala. (SCORECARD)
Chasing a below-par target of 150 to win on a good surface, Kohli along with Shikhar Dhawan knitted a crucial 61-run stand for the second wicket. Dhawan played a fine knock of 40 before departing to a David Miller special at the long-on. Miller took a blinder to dismiss Dhawan (40) off Tabraiz Shamsi’s bowling. Earlier, Rohit Sharma failed to convert his start and was departed for 12 after providing the home side a solid start. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
After a dominant tour to the Caribbean islands and now this performance against Proteas ensured that Kohli’s men have put behind the disappointment of World Cup 2019 semifinal exit. During his unbeaten 72-run knock, Kohli (2441) became the highest run-getter in T20I cricket as he edged past his compatriot Rohit Sharma (2434).
He struck his 22nd T20I fifty in a well-paced knock as India gunned down a 150-run chase with 6 balls to spare. Earlier, SA skipper Quinton de Kock and debutant Temba Bavuma played impressive knocks but India were able to contain South Africa to 149 for five.
Newly-appointed captain de Kock (52 off 37) led from the front, while Bavuma (49 off 43) too impressed in his first limited-overs appearance for South Africa in almost two years. But South Africa did not get the final flourish they were looking for and ended up with a below-par total. India bowled well in the death overs, conceding only 24 runs in the final four. Pacer Deepak Chahar was pick of the bowler with two wickets for 22 runs from his four overs.
Kohli sent a new-look South Africa into bat with the visitors picking three debutants in Anrich Nortje, Bjorn Fortuin and Bavuma. While Reeza Hendricks departed cheaply, de Kock looked in sublime touch from the word go.
South Africa made only 39 for one in six overs but their innings picked up momentum after that, taking them to 78 for one in 10 overs. It took a brilliant catch from skipper Kohli to dismiss de Kock and shift the momentum in India’s favour.
De Kock mistimed a hit off Saini and Kohli came running from mid-off to pounce on it, brining the crowd back to life. The stand between de Kock and Bavuma yielded 57 runs. Runs dried up in the death overs but South Africa got a much-needed couple of sixes in the 20th over off Saini, which went for 16 runs.