JP Duminy (Right) and Farhaan Behardien handled pressure well to take South Africa across the line © AFP
JP Duminy (Right) and Farhaan Behardien handled pressure well to take South Africa across the line © AFP

The India vs South Africa series of 2015, being played as the ‘Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Trophy’ for the first time, went off to an electric start. The visiting South Africa clinched the thrilling encounter after getting pushed into a corner. Rohit Sharma’s hundred which oozed elegant fluency went in vain as did Virat Kohli’s blitz, due to JP Duminy’s death-over heroics. Duminy’s heroics also meant Akshar Patel’s downfall as it was in his over that the former tilted the game back in South Africa’s favour. Rishad D’Souza brings you the defining moments in the match. SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 1st T20I at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala

Shikhar Dhawan’s unfortunate run out: India’s innings received a major setback before garnering significant momentum as Dhawan got run out for 3. After Dhawan hit the ball to mid-off where Marchant de Lange mis-fielded, the batsmen decided to run a second with the time gained due to the fumble. The second run cost a distraught Dhawan his wicket at the striker’s end where AB de Villiers whipped the bails off just in time. UPDATES: India vs South Africa 2015, 1st T20I at Dharamsala

Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli show restraint: The early wicket of Dhawan made Rohit and Virat play cautiously. The South African bowlers were accurate in the first 5 overs and were assisted in tying down the duo by the pitch that offered carry and mild movement. Rohit and Kohli were initially focussed on preserving wickets. ALSO READ: JP Duminy helps South Africa win cliff-hanger against India in the 1st T20I at Dharamsala

Shackles broken: Realising the urgency to score runs the duo picked up the scoring the sixth over onwards. Rohit led the charge first and Virat soon followed. Rohit’s mild shakiness vanished and he came into his own as he started to play some lovely shots across the length and breadth of Dharamsala.

Milestones: Coming into the game Virat needed just 28 runs to become the first Indian to 1,000 runs in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), Virat achieved the feat in only his 29th T20I at an astounding average of over 46, thereby becoming the quickest to do so. Meanwhile Rohit was relentless. He scored freely and got to his hundred with a lovely six down the ground.

Kyle Abbott dismisses well-set duo: India could have possibly scored a lot more had it not been for Abbott’s dismissals of both Kohli and Rohit in the 16th over. While other bowlers failed to adjust to the dew, Abbott retained the control and slowed India down with the wickets of the well-set duo.  The wickets meant India were bound one less than 200.

AB de Villiers provides ideal start: De Villiers came in as opener and was at his rampant best, making most of the lose bowling in the powerplay overs. He was well assisted by the graceful Hashim Amla, who also scored at a good rate. The first 6 overs yielded 67.

Spinners reign in control: The first over after powerplay was bowled by Akshar Patel, and the openers immediately lost fluency. Leading edges were procured and runs were hard to come by. The pressure soon took toll and Amla was run out in his thirties. De Villiers got bowled one ball after reaching his fifty to a beauty from Ravichandran Ashwin. Skipper Faf du Plessis was dismissed for a paltry 5 in the same period leaving South Africa reeling.

JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien steady ship: After three wickets, the need was for dual emphasis on preserving wickets while keeping the scoreboard ticking at a rate that always had South Africa in the hunt. The spinners kept them tied down and Ashwin was really impressive, conceding just 26 runs in his quota of four overs apart from dismissing de Villiers, but more wickets didn’t come by.

JP Duminy magic in 16th over: By the end of the 15th over, one thing became fully clear; South Africa needed one big over with 66 to be made in 30 deliveries. As in the Indian innings, the 16th over swung things around for South Africa: Akshar was the bowler, and an increasingly anxious Duminy targeted him, smashing three consecutive sixes. After the 16th over, South Africa needed a far more achievable 44 off 24 balls.

Duminy finishes things: The match was open to both teams till the very end. The equation came down to South Africa requiring 10 off the final over. Duminy had scored a lovely fifty and Behardien played his role in the background by taking crucial singles and striking timely boundaries.  Any hope of a turnaround was diminished when Duminy struck the third ball of Aravind’s over — a full-toss — for six. A single was achieved next ball and South Africa had triumphed.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)