Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Sunday became the third-highest wicket-taker for the country in T20 Internationals during the second T20I against South Africa at the Barabati Cricket Stadium in Cuttack.
Bhuvneshwar ran through the visitors’ batting unit upfront in their chase of a moderate 149 on a tricky surface. Bhuvneshwar claimed three early wickets to reduce Proteas to 29 for three in the Powerplay overs.
IND vs SA: Bhuvneshwar Kumar claims 4/13 in the second T20I
South African opener Reeza Hendricks failed to pick an inswinging delivery, that was kept a tad low, by the Indian pacer, and crashed into the stumps after getting an inside edge. Bhuvneshwar used the knuckleball to get rid of Dwaine Pretorius, who played a handy cameo in the first T20I.
The Indian bowling spearhead reserved his best delivery of the day for Rassie van der Dussen, a back-of-the-length delivery, which nipped back in and uprooted the stumps. Bhuvneshwar also cleaned up Wayne Parnell later in the chase but his stupendous spell of 4/13 went in vain as the visitors rode on the brilliance of Heinrich Klaasen.
Klaasen scored 81 from 46 balls, including seven fours and five sixes at a strike rate of 176.09 as South Africa chase the target with 10 balls to spare and took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar becomes India’s third-highest wicket-taker in T20 Internationals
Bhuvneshwar has amassed 63 wickets in 61 T20I matches for India, surpassing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s tally of 61 scalps. The Indian pacer is just behind Jasprit Bumrah (67) and Yuzvendra Chahal (69) in the highest wicket-takers list for the Indian team in the shortest format.
Bhuvneshwar can go past Bumrah’s tally in the remaining three games of the series. Bumrah has been rested for the T20Is against South Africa along with other senior players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
“He (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) gave us a really good start, exactly the start we required. He is known for his swing bowling and the wicket really helped him. He knew the areas to bowl at.
“He executed his plans really well. He is someone who has got a lot of experience and is a great asset to the team,” Indian batter Shreyas Iyer said in the post-match press conference.
India will play South Africa in the third T20I on Tuesday (June 14) at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.