NEW DELHI: Powered by audacious innings from David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen, South Africa chased down 212 in 19.1 overs against India in the first T20I at Delhi to script a seven-wicket win. With this victory, the visitors have taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Here are the highlights from the match:
Lucky Ishan, ‘Butcher’ Iyer: The opener Ishan Kishan rode his luck on Thursday as many times the top edges fell in no man’s land. He was also beaten several times by the pacers Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell. The left-hander was visibly tentative early in his innings, as he often is, and scored only 18 runs off the first 19 balls. Ruturaj Gaikwad, his opening partner, on the other hand, was more fluent as he tonked three sixes.
After being a tad shaky, Ishan got into the groove by whipping out a delicate late-cut in the sixth over off Anrich and then smashing him through cover as India raced to 51 runs in the Powerplay.
Ishan remained unfazed even after Ruturaj perished for 23 in the 7th over. He biffed medium-pacer Dwaine Pretorius for a couple of fours in the ninth over and then launched left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for a six over mid-wicket to notch up his fifty in 37 balls. Maharaj came in for pasting in the 13th over as Pant clouted the first two balls for sixes over long-on and clocked up two boundaries off the next two. He survived a DRS call on the next, after being given out, but was caught at long-on attempting another six. Pant made 76 off 48 balls.
Shreyas Iyer has the reputation of being a butcher of spinners and he once again measured up to this billing. Immediately after coming to bat, the right-hander slammed wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for three sixes down the ground without breaking a sweat and took the wind out of his sails.
He got a reprieve when wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock fluffed a simple stumping off Maharaj in the 11th over when Iyer was batting on 25. Together, Iyer and Kishan stitched up an 80-run partnership for the 2nd wicket.
Local-boy Pant: Rishabh Pant, the local boy, was named the captain for South Africa at the last minute when KL Rahul pulled out because of an injury. The crowd accorded him an exhilarating welcome as he came out to bat. The dashing left-hander didn’t disappoint his city folks and reeled off a brisk cameo. In the 17th over, he bludgeoned Pretorious for a six straight down the ground and then sliced his past cover for a boundary.
Overall, he scored 29 off 16 balls.
The ‘Pandya’ power: Hardik Pandya took the recently-held Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 by storm as he racked up the most runs for his team, snapped up crucial wickets – three in the final – and led Gujarat Titans to the championship win. His tubthumping performance helped him script a comeback to India’s T20I team.
The flamboyant all-rounder continued his sterling form in international cricket as well and cracked an unbeaten 31 off 12 balls. His innings, which was laced with three sixes, was instrumental in India scoring 211-4 in 20 overs.
Pretorius’s bracing burst: Chasing 212, South Africa lost their captain, Temba Bavuma, in the third over as he was caught by Pant off Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 8. However, his dismissal heralded a storm whipped up by Pretorious as he launched a ferocious attack on Indian bowlers. He started off by slog sweeping leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for a six and then clouted Hardik Pandya for three sixes in the 5th over. The second one, in particular, was gigantic and the biggest six of the evening.
South Africa sauntered to 50 in just 4.3 overs and the signs were ominous for India. But in the next over, Pretorious was left flummoxed by a low full-toss by Harshal Patel which shattered his stumps. The right-hander made an explosive 29 off 13 balls and gave a fiery start to the visitors.
‘If it’s the arc, it’s out of the park’: David Miller admittedly makes bowlers pay if they bowl in his arc and he once again did exactly that. In the 12th over, Harshal bowled a slow delivery on the leg stump which was picked by Miller and sent sailing into the stands. In the next over, he skipped down the track and smote left-arm spinner Axar Patel for a six over long-off. In the same over, he once again clubbed him over long-on.
He reached his fifty off just 22 balls by thumping Bhuvneshwar for a six over long-off in the 15th over.
The turning point: Shreyas dropping Rassie van der Dussen in the 16th over, when he was batting at 29 off 30 balls, was perhaps the turning point of the match. Dussen had pulled medium-pacer Avesh Khan straight to deep mid-wicket but Iyer spilled an easy catch.
In the next two overs, Dussen, who was struggling till then, went berserk and collected 44 runs. He walloped Harshal for three colossal sixes in the 17th over and then slog-swept Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over for another monumental six over deep backward square-leg. South Africa needed 56 runs in the last four overs and it seemed like an uphill task.
But the ferocious late assault by Dussen made light of the chase as the visitors galloped to 212 in 19.1 overs. Miller and Dussen remained unbeaten on 64 and 75 respectively.
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