© AFP
© AFP

India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first T20I of the three-match series, at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Shikhar Dhawan was the wrecker-in-chief, walloping a 72 off 39. He helped India set 204, their highest score against South Africa. The bowlers then complimented the batsmen, not succumbing to pressure. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers, taking his maiden five-wicket haul in the format.

The Indian batsmen went berserk right from the word go. Rohit Sharma picked up 18 runs off the first over, smacking Dane Patterson for 2 sixes and a four. However, debutant Junior Dala got the better of him in the next over. Out came Suresh Raina, ahead of Virat Kohli, and fired on all cylinders. However, his innings was as short and entertaining as Rohit’s. Raina, playing for India after a year, went for 15 off 7.

Kohli steadied the innings with Dhawan. Amidst his brilliant strokeplay, he was dropped by Farhaan Behardien on 10. He added another 16 runs before getting trapped in front to become Tabraiz Shamsi’s maiden T20I wicket.

All the same, the Gabbar show downed the South Africans. He reached his fourth T20I fifty off 27 balls. Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, and Hardik Pandya added 58 runs combined to take India to 203 for 5.

South Africa did not have a start they had dished out. Bhuvi got JJ Smuts and JP Duminy in quick succession. Two overs later Hardik Pandya got the better of David Miller for a mere 9. South Africa were 48 for 3 in 6.2 overs.

Then began the resurgence scripted by Reeza Hendricks and Behardien. The duo added 81 runs for the fourth wicket, reviving the South African innings. Hendricks scored his maiden T20I fifty, while Behardien added a vital 39.

However, the lower-middle order could not make use of the laid foundation. Bhuvi took 3 wickets in his last over, which read wicket-2-2-wicket-wicket-wicket, the last being was a run out. From 154 for 4 South Africa were throttled to 159 for 8. Jaydev Unadkat took one more wicket, as South Africa concluded their innings at 175 for 9 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:

India 203 for 5 (Shikhar Dhawan 71, Virat Kohli 26; Junior Dala 2 for 47) beat South Africa 175 for 9 (Reeza Hendricks 70, Farhaan Behardien 39; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5 for 24) by 28 runs.

Full scorecard