South Africa pulled back to go on level terms with India in the 2nd Twenty20 international at the Centurion on Wednesday.
Proteas wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen played a blinder of an innings while skipper JP Duminy led from the front with an unbeaten half-century to hand the side a good six-wicket win and now all is left to play for in the third and final encounter.
After being set a challenging target of 189, South Africa rode on local boy Klaasen’s 69 off 30 deliveries and skipper Duminy’s unbeaten 64 off 40 balls to chase down the score in 18.4 overs.With constant drizzle pouring in for most part of the South African innings, the Indian bowlers, especially leg-spinner spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, found it difficult to grip the bowl.
Despite unbeaten half centuries earlier from Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni, India failed to defend their total.
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) February 21, 2018
STAT ATTACK: It (189) was the 3rd highest successful chase by South Africa in T20Is
Proteas chase have desired momentum
The hosts made a modest start to their chase with openers Reeza Hendricks (26) and Jon-Jon Smuts (2) sharing 24 runs for the opening wicket. But left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat (2/42) broke the partnership when he got Smuts to get a leading edge and it was gleefully accepted by Suresh Raina.
In-form Hendricks then departed in the final ball off the next over when he was holed out by Hardik Pandya at deep square leg off Shardul Thakur, who got a chance ahead of Jasprit Bumrah.
From there on it was a stellar show by Klaasen, who got the tempo swinging. He was ably supported by Duminy as the duo brought South Africa back into the match with a blazing 93-run stand for the third wicket. The partnership came off just 49 balls after they were down to 38 for 2 at one stage.
Klaasen looked ominous and targeted Chahal after using the crease to perfection and struck three boundaries and as many as seven sixes during his fiery knock in front of his home crowd. The player also brought up his maiden half-century in the process.
Meanwhile, skipper Duminy played the second fiddle and gave Klaasen the perfect support from the other end. Klaasen brought South Africa in sight of victory, finally departed when he top-edged a Unadkat delivery straight to Dhoni behind the stumps in the 14th over. It was Duminy’s turn from there on as he showed his experience and guile.
The southpaw took the onus on himself to guide South Africa home and together with Farhaan Behardien (16 not out) shared unconquered 48 runs for the fifth wicket to seal the series-levelling victory. He finished off the chase in style with two consecutive sixes of Unadkat.
India pull back onus after poor power play
Earlier, Pandey and MS Dhoni slammed quickfire half-centuries to guide India to a challenging 188 for four. Sent into bat, India were dealt a severe blow in the first ball of the second over when Rohit Sharma was caught plumb in front of the wicket for a golden duck by Junior Dala (2/28).
But thereafter, in-form Shikhar Dhawan (24 off 14) got India get some quick runs as he clobbered Chris Morris for two fours and as many sixes in the third over over to up the ante.Comeback man Raina (31 off 24) played some great looking stokes as he hit right-arm pacer Dane Peterson for three boundaries in the next over to take India to 40 for one after four overs.
But Duminy acted brace and got himself in and after being clobbered by Dhawan with an exquisite pull to the midwicket boundary, the Proteas skipper got his man in the next ball as Dhawan hit a full toss straight to Behardien at mid-on. In the next over, India received a big blow in the form of skipper Virat Kohli, who gloved a rising Dala delivery straight to Klaasen behind the stumps.
Thereafter, Raina and Pandey added quick 45 runs off 31 balls for the fourth wicket to take India forward. Their good looking stand was finally broken by Andile Phehlukwayo in the 11th over when he had Raina lbw. Pandey, who had a good game in the 2nd T20I, got along with Dhoni to take India forward.
The duo took their time early on, but once they got their eyes set, they smashed the South African bowlers all around the park. Pandey struck six boundaries and three sixes as he remained unbeaten on 79 off 48 balls. Meanwhile, veteran Dhoni made 52 off 28 deliveries to get to his 2nd T20I fifty.
The duo shared 98 runs for the fifth wicket in just 9.2 overs.