South African skipper Quinton de Kock led from the front with an unbeaten 79 as the Proteas comfortably defeated India by nine wickets in Bengaluru to level the series 1-1 on Sunday.
The home side went in with an unchanged line up, while the visitors included Beuran Hendricks in place of the injured Anrich Nortje.
Like he had in Mohali, Indian skipper Virat Kohli again won the toss, but this time surprised one and all by opting to bat first. The Chinnaswamy has a reputation of being a chasing ground and India’s win percentage in T20 internationals drops to below 50% while batting first (as opposed to a near 75% win percentage while chasing). Kohli said at the toss that it was an attempt to test his bowlers ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on a quickfire 22 run opening stand before Beuran Hendricks drew first blood, with Rohit caught at slip by Reeza Hendricks. The left armer pacer has a fine record against Rohit in T20’s- 3 dismissals in 4 deliveries across 3 innings , perhaps highlighting a weakness of the Indian opener.
Tabraiz Shamsi was hammered for two consecutive sixes in his maiden over by Dhawan, but had the last laugh when he had the opener brilliantly caught for 36 by Temba Bavuma.
Kohli wasn’t his usual fluent self and he made just 9 off 15 deliveries before falling to Kagiso Rabada, with Andile Phehlukwayo taking a good catch on the boundary.
Rishabh Pant threw his wicket away after yet another promising start, miscuing a hoick straight down to long off’s throat after having made 19 off 20. Bjorn Fortuin, who had picked up Pant’s wicket, also accounted for Shreyas Iyer, with the Delhi Daredevils captain stumped off the very next delivery as India slumped to 92/5.
Hendricks’ ability to swing the ball continued to cause problems to the Indian batsmen, with Krunal Pandya making just 4 before edging one to De Kock. His brother Hardik and Ravi Jadeja attempted to provide a late flourish at the end, but weren’t entirely successfull as India finished with a modest score of 134/9 at the end of their allotted 20 overs.
Rabada was South Africa’s best bowler as he finished with figures of 3/39 in his quota of 4 overs, while Fortuin and Hendricks claimed 2 wickets apiece.
If India were to make a match of this, they needed to get De Kock- easily South Africa’s best batsman, early, and strangulate the rest with spin on a sluggish surface.
The Proteas captain started fluently with some delightful cover drives early in his innings. He also hit Navdeep Saini for two beautiful sixes over deep square leg in the latter’s very first over to keep the visitors ahead of the run rate.
India wasted their solitary review on Reeza Hendricks, with replays clearly showing that Deepak Chahar’s delivery was going down leg, and were left to rue their decision in the very next over- Washington Sundar had De Kock trapped in front, but with the umpire unmoved, the hosts were unable to use DRS even as replays showed three reds.
De Kock and Reeza Hendricks put on 76 runs for the opening stand, before the former fell to a brilliant catch at mid on by Kohli.
Hendricks’ dismissal saw De Kock move up a couple of gears- he went from 33 (29) to 79 (52) as the Proteas cruised to the target of 135 with 19 balls to spare.
Beuran Hendricks (2/14) was declared the Man of the Match while de Kock was awarded the Player of the Series.
The focus now shifts to the test series, with the first one to be played at Visakhapatnam beginning October 2.