Rohit–Rahul Blitz and Maharaj’s Brilliance
After being invited to bat by the South African skipper, Indian openers were off to a sedate start. 21 runs came off the first 3 overs as there were a few plays and misses along with a couple of edges that went to the boundary. Then, Rohit and Rahul decided to switch gears and smashed 36 runs in the next 3 overs. The wicket looked like a batting paradise, and India was off to a great start in the powerplay.
The dominant batting display continued as India reached 94 for 0 after 9 overs. The 9th over of the innings by Nortje went for 21 runs, and the signs looked ominous for the South Africans. But, Maharaj provided a much-needed breakthrough in the next over as Rohit dragged a slog sweep to deep mid-wicket.
KL Rahul brought his half-century and India’s century with a massive six-over long-on in the 11th over. The joy didn’t last long as Maharaj picked his 2nd wicket in the next over to send Rahul packing to the dressing room. Despite all the carnage going on in the middle, the left-arm spinner ended his spell with the figures of 4 overs, 23 runs for 2 wickets.
SYK Set the Stage on Fire
With a couple of quick wickets and two new batsmen on the crease, South Africans were trying to tighten the screws. But, SYK had other ideas as he thumped Rabada for a 22-run-over.
There was no stopping Surya as he scored 16 off the next over to take India to 171 for 2 at the end of 16 overs. He brought up an 18-ball fifty with an outrageous shot over backward point.
There was no respite for South Africa, and runs kept coming thick and fast. Virat joined the party, and India’s 200 was up in the 18th over. SYK finally got out after playing a splendid knock of 61 runs off just 22 balls.
The Proteas were given a mammoth target of 238 runs, with Kohli and Karthik unbeaten on 49*(28) and 17*(7), respectively.
Arshdeep Left South Africa In a Nutshell
The chase started with a maiden as Bavuma struggled once again in the opening over against Chahar. He got caught at mid-off for a 7-ball duck in the next over. He was followed by Rossouw in the same over, who also fell for a successive duck, just like his skipper.
Arshdeep’s double-wicket over left SA in a dicey situation. But, Markram came to the crease with positive intent and helped his team to get out of the initial stutter. They finished the Powerplay at 45 for 2 as De Kock struggled to get going at the other end.
Axar came in to remove Markram on the second delivery of his 1st over. That was a huge blow for the chasing side as the required run rate went above 15 in the 8th over. At the 10-over mark, SA were 70 for 3 with 168 needed off the last 10 overs. The game had already gone out of their reach at the halfway stage.
Miller’s Masterclass Not Enough To Save South Africa
However, Miller wasn’t going to hang around as he decided to take the attack to the Indians. The next 3 overs went for 40, and South African fans were dreaming again. Things got more interesting as De Kock also got going against Axar, smashing him for 6,6, and 4 in consecutive deliveries. Both the left-handers kept the hopes alive with 95 required off the last 30 balls.
De Kock and Miller kept trying hard, but they had left themselves too many runs to get in the last few overs. The next 3 overs went for 32 runs, and South Africa needed more than a miracle to stay alive in the series. David Miller played one of the greatest T20I knocks, smashing 106* from 47 balls. He and Quinny added 174 runs off just 84 balls for the 4th wicket.
But, the Proteas still fell short by 16 runs in a spirited run chase.
What’s Coming Up Next?
Both teams will meet each other in the final game of the T20I series on Tuesday, the 4th of October.