India started their home season with a comfortable seven wicket win as they brushed aside South Africa by seven wickets in Mohali. Here are our talking points from the game.
Another Virat Kohli masterclass:The only player to average over 50 in all three formats of the game, Kohli produced another chasing masterclass as India went 1-0 up in the series. He ensured that the hosts always remained ahead of the asking rate, and his 52 ball 72 was studded with some fine shots- none better than the flicked six off Kagiso Rabada towards the end of the chase.
He also took a fine diving catch to dismiss his opposite number Quinton de Kock just as the latter was beginning to look dangerous. Kohli was off the field in the final stages of South Africa’s innings with an apparent back problem- the only way the Proteas might have made a match of it was if he didn’t recover in time to take the crease. But he did, and once he got into his stride, the outcome was inevitable.
Temba Bavuma’s T20 debut: South Africa handed a T20 debut to Temba Bavuma and the gritty batsman made a pretty decent fist of it- scoring 49 off 43. However numbers don’t quite tell the exact story- Bavuma was 42 (31) at the end of the 14th over, and his struggles at the death meant South Africa couldn’t quite tee off. They managed only 16 runs between overs 16-19, and only got to 149 thanks to two sixes in the last four balls from Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.
Bavuma is a decent batsman, but South Africa possess too many similar players – several who can strike at a little over a 100, but take their time to get in. If they don’t convert (like Kohli did today), it doesn’t exactly help the team’s cause. Someone like Shreyas Iyer, with his ability to strike from the word go, would walk into this Proteas T20 side comfortably.
South Africa and India were neck and neck at the half way stage, but once De Kock left the field, the visitors’ innings appeared to have been robbed of all momentum.
Deepak Chahar impresses again: Chahar continued from where he had left off the IPL with fantastic figures of 2/19 in his four overs. If he continues in this vein, the CSK pacer is a shoo-in for India’s T20 World Cup squad next year.
Two fantastic catches: Kohli’s catch to dismiss Quinton de Kock was a stunner, but there was an even better take in South Africa’s innings. Shikhar Dhawan appeared to have done enough to hammer a flat six off the bowling of debutant Bjorn Fortuin, but David Miller took an excellent catch on the long on boundary. Given the pace on the ball and the fact it had already passed him in the Mohali humidity, Miller’s catch was a fantastic one.
Dhawan and Kohli’s reactions told it all- the latter had a shocked expression on the face, while the former could only offer a wry smile as he walked off the field.