It was a Tough One for the Bowlers: Virat Kohli
Hosts South Africa made a brilliant turnaround to kekp their hopes alive in the 3- match T20I series after registering a 6 wickets victory to level the series 1-1. After a below par bowling performance, it was the brilliance of Heinrich Klassen and JP Duminy which sealed the deal for the hosts. It was one heck of a performance and the emotions of JP Duminy meant it all. South Africa haven’t been used to losing at home and this win will surely give them the confidence going into the series decider.
It was South African skipper JP Duminy who won the toss and opted to field. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma receded out in the middle. Debutant from the previous encounter Junior Dala removed Rohit Sharma for a golden duck in the 1st delivery of the 2nd over. Captain Virat Kohli decided to send Suresh Raina up the order yet again and he didn’t disappoint.
Both the southpaws struck some exceptional shots. Dhawan, in particular, deposited a couple of deliveries out of the stand with comfort. Raina, on the other hand, was also going along well. It was skipper JP Duminy who provided the hosts with the important breakthrough of Dhawan. Captain Kohli couldn’t get going either and was dismissed by a great delivery from Junior Dala. The ball took off after pitching I the three-quarter area and Kohli ended up giving a pretty straightforward catch to Heinrich Klassen behind the stumps.
Manish Pandey, however, was playing well and began with some exquisite shots. After a brief partnership between Pandey and Raina, the southpaw was dismissed by a well disguised slower delivery from Andile Phehlukwayo. It was former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who joined Pandey in the middle. From the outset, Dhoni looked in command of proceedings.
After seeing off the first 6 deliveries he stepped down the track to deposit JJ Smuts out of the stand. It was just the start of what was about to come. He struck some exceptional shots and raced his way to his 2nd T20I half-century. Pandey, on the other hand, kept going after the bowlers and struck 6 fours and 3 sixes during his knock of 79 of just 48 deliveries.
It was Dhoni who started taking the bowling apart in the last two overs. He struck 4 fours and 3 sixes en route to his unbeaten 52 of just 28 deliveries. Eventually, India finished their allotted 20 overs on 188/4.
South Africa began on a sedate note in the first couple of overs. However, it was again Reeza Hendricks who started taking the Indian bowlers on and struck some delightful shots. It was Jaydev Unadkat who gave India the opening breakthrough in the form of JJ Smuts. After playing himself in, Reeza Hendricks gave his wicket away Shardul Thakur.
However from there on it was a sensational piece of batting by Heinrich Klassen who was promoted up the order. He literally took the Indian bowling apart and made power hitting look ridiculously easy. The hard-hitter literally kept toying with the Indian bowling line-up. He smacked Yuzvendra Chahal to all parts of the ground. He was taken apart and was hit for as many as 4 sixes in a couple of overs.
However, after making a splendid 69 off 30 deliveries, he was dismissed by a well disguised slower delivery from Jaydev Unadkat. On the other hand skipper, JP Duminy was doing about his job in an unwavering manner.
In the end, it was captain JP Duminy who held his nerves and sealed the deal for the Proteas. He finished off the match with a couple of consecutive sixes as South Africa won by 6 wickets and with 8 deliveries to spare.
Here is what Indian skipper Virat Kohli said in the post-match presentation ceremony
Tough one for the bowlers. Manish and Raina batted well initially. Manish and MS were outstanding to get to 190. It was tough in the drizzle. Credit to the SA batsmen. They were very positive. Good from spectator point of view. You don’t want play to be stopped. You don’t mind these things. We didn’t have problems with that. There was a constant drizzle, wasn’t too drastic at any stage. With the drizzle, the wicket settled down. The ball was difficult to grip too. They took calculated risks. They targetted the short boundary and it came off for them. They showed the passion which is needed to win games of cricket.