Cuttack: A disciplined bowling performance followed by Heinrich Klaasen’s brilliant knock (81 off 46) led South Africa to a convincing four-wicket win over India in the second T20I and helped them take a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series at the Barabati Stadium, here on Sunday.
South Africa restricted India to 148/6 in 20 overs despite Dinesh Karthik’s late flourish (30 not out off 21 balls). Besides Karthik, Shreyas Iyer (40 off 35), Ishan Kishan (34 off 21) were the main scorers as most of the Indian batters failed to deliver against Proteas bowlers and lost wickets at regular intervals.
In reply, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s magical figures of 4/13 in four overs was not enough to stop Proteas as they chased down the total with 10 balls to spare.
Defending a modest total, India needed wickets early on and Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered after he went through Hendricks’ gate in the very first over. The decision to send Dwaine Pretorius did not reap the same reward as the first game, as he was deceived by the knuckleball of the veteran fast bowler.
In the sixth over, Bhuvneshwar picked his third wicket with the nip-backer to dismiss the dangerous Rassie van der Dussen. India kept the lid on scoring even after the fielding restrictions were lifted, reducing the Proteas to just 36/3 after the Powerplay.
However, wicket-keeper batter Klaasen had other plans. The required run-rate was touching 10 an over when he decided to take the attack to India. The carnage began when he plundered Yuzvendra Chahal for a four and six and dished out similar treatment to Hardik, with two fours in his second over.
The batter smashed Axar Patel out of the attack in his very first over, accumulating 19 runs which included a six and two fours. The wicket of Temba Bavuma for 35 did nothing to slow South Africa down as Klaasen’s fireworks had brought the required rate down.
Klaasen got to his fifty off just 32 balls and finished the game off in a hurry thereafter. With 34 needed off 30, the decision to bowl Chahal backfired on India as David Miller and Klaasen smoked the wrist-spinner for three sixes.
By the time the wicketkeeper-batter was dismissed by Harshal Patel for 81, South Africa only needed five from the last three overs. Bhuvi got one more wicket to complete his four-for before Miller hit the winning runs to take the visitors home with ten balls and four wickets to spare.
Earlier, Put into bat first, India had a bad start as opener Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the very first over of the innings. Shreyas Iyer then joined Ishan Kishan in the middle and it was not easy for both Indian batters as Proteas pacers were bowling hard lengths on a two-paced Cuttack pitch.
India got a bit of a move on in the fourth over, with Nortje bowling a couple in Ishan Kishan’s arc and he whipped them over the legside for sixes. The left-hander continued his aggressive approach and took India to 42/1 at the end of the powerPlay.
However, in the next over, Nortje bowled a shot pitch delivery to Kishan, who was late on the pull and offered a dolly to square leg, going back to pavilion after a breezy 34 off 21.
Unlike Delhi, where Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma brought spinners in the first over, he kept spin away for 8 overs here. In the ninth over, left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was introduced and went for 14 runs after Iyer hit him for a four and a six. But, Keshav Maharaj showed smartness in the next over, bowled outside off at an onrushing Rishabh Pant (5) who mistimed his slog to the sweeper cover fielder, leaving India to 68/3 in 9.1 overs.
From there on, the onus was on Hardik Pandya and a settled Iyer to take India forward. But, Bavuma brought Wayne Parnell back into the attack and the pacer bowled a ball with the angle to knock Pandya’s stumps down.
Very soon, Iyer nicked off a Dwaine Pretorius delivery, which was caught by Klaasen behind the wickets. India still had hopes from Dinesh Karthik and Axar pair — the last recognised pair to take their team to a competitive total. But Axar (10) couldn’t do much, got out to Nortje in the last delivery of the 17th over, leaving India tottering at 112/6.
It was eventually, Kartik, who used his finishing skills well and along with Harshal Patel (12 not out) scored 30 runs in the last two overs, taking India to 148/6 in 20 overs. Anrich Nortje (2/36) was the most successful bowler for South Africa while Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj picked one wicket each.
Brief scores: India 148-6 in 20 Overs (Shreyas Iyer 40, Ishan Kishan 34; Anrich Nortje 2/36) lost to South Africa 149-6 in 18.2 Overs (Heinrich Klaasen 81, Temba Bavuma 35; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/13) by 4 wickets