Thiruvananthapuram – India took a 1-0 series lead after beating the Proteas by 8 wickets in the first contest of the three-match T20 International series against South Africa at the Greenfield Stadium.
An exhibition of good swing bowling by Indian openers, Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar, led to a shocking top-order collapse from the South African batters. It proved costly as they could only manage to put up a score of 106-8 after their 20 overs. Half-centuries from Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul helped India reach their target of 107 with relative ease.
Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma walked out to the middle after Indian captain, Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl.
Sharma’s decision proved to be the right one in the first over when Deepak Chahar cleverly delivered an in-swinger that knocked Bavuma over, sending him back to the pavilion for a duck.
de Kock was dismissed for just one run in the very next over when he tried to hit a ball by Arshdeep Singh square of the wicket but only managed to find an inside edge that deflected onto his stumps.
The Proteas’ abysmal start continued when they lost the wickets of Rilee Russouw (0), David Miller (0), and Tristan Stubbs (0) in only the first three overs, finding themselves in the shocking position of having 9 runs on the board for the loss of 5 wickets.
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Wayne Parnell and Aiden Markram found themselves at the crease earlier than they would’ve expected, trying to steady the sinking South African ship.
The pair got South Africa to 42 for 6 before Markram, in the 8th over, was hit on the pads as he walked across the stumps to try and play the ball onto the leg side. After an appeal and a review, the umpire was asked to change his decision and Markram was dismissed for 25 off 24.
With Keshav Maharaj joining him at the crease, Parnell looked to accelerate the innings but fell victim to Axar Patel when he failed to clear the leg side boundary, getting caught by Suryakumar Yadav on 24 off 37 balls.
Maharaj battled well, playing a few good shots and providing his team with some much-needed runs. He scored 41 off 35 balls before he was bowled out by Harshal Patel at the death, helping the Proteas to a score of 106-8 after 20 overs.
Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma got the run chase underway. However, Kagiso Rabada struck in the third over, finding the outside edge of Sharma to bag the big wicket of the Indian captain, dismissing him for a duck.
Virat Kohli’s inconsistency in his batting continued, scoring 3 runs before he edged a ball by Anrich Nortje behind into the hands of de Kock.
At 17-2, it looked like South Africa may have had a chance at an unlikely victory. But despite their energy and valiancy in the field, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav had different ideas as the pair’s partnership of 97 runs took them down the path of victory in 16.4 overs.
Picture: Twitter/ @BCCI
Compiled by Junaid Benjamin