When it comes to Twenty20 cricket, India have a strong connection with South Africa. It’s against them they played their first ever Twenty20 International (T20I) in December 2006. Almost a year later, it was in the same country, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his young boys made headlines by lifting the inaugural World Twenty20 Trophy. Both sides are stacked up with some of the best T20 players in world cricket and the T20 series that begins on October 2, promises to be an exciting affair.

Over the last nine years, India have had an upper hand when it comes to the shortest format — winning six of the eight encounters. Currently India are ranked fourth in this format and South Africa sixth. Ahead of the Dharamsala game, Suvajit Mustafi looks at 9 memorable moments from India-South Africa past T20 encounters.


1.  Dinesh Karthik’s scores the winning runs


December 1, 2006, saw India play their first ever T20I. Johannesburg was the venue and this game turned out to be Sachin Tendulkar’s only international game in this format. India had suffered a humiliating defeat in the ODI series and not much was expected off them in this game. For India, the two Dineshs Mongia and Karthik, did the job. Mongia scored 38 from 45 to bring India close to the target of 127.

Later with a run needed from two balls, Karthik cut one past backward point to help India register a win in their maiden appearance in this format. Indeed, a historic moment!

Watch India’s innings:


2.  Dinesh Karthik’s catch to dismiss Graeme Smith

India’s score of 153 in the World T20 2007 game at Durban wasn’t a safe one considering the home side’s dangerous batting line-up. South Africa were steadily moving at 33 for 2, when in the last ball of the fifth over, Karthik pulled off a blinder. RP Singh got Graeme Smith to edge one and Karthik diving full-length to his left, pouched the blinder.

3.  Rohit Sharma gets Justin Kemp run out

In the same match, India continued displaying their exemplary fielding skills. This time it was Rohit Sharma. The 20-year-old Mumbai batsman had earlier scored an unbeaten 50 from 40-balls to help India to 153. Now with a brilliant run-out, he sent back the dangerous Justin Kemp. Picking the ball one-handed, Rohit fired a rocketing throw on the move to get a direct hit.

India went on to win the match by 37 runs. Watch the highlights of the memorable match:

4.  AB de Villiers classic floors India


It was a slow wicket and South Africa after a good start began to lose the plot in the Super 8 game of the World T20 2009. Once again it was AB de Villiers who made the difference. His 63 from 51 helped them to 130. Later Johan Botha pulled off figures of 4-0-16-3 to help South Africa win the content by 12 runs. It was South Africa’s first ever win against India in T20I.

5.  The Suresh Raina show

If there’s a format where Suresh Raina can be called a legend, it’s T20. The most successful IPL batsman of all-time became the first ever Indian batsman to register a T20I ton. The feat remains unparalleled. It was a World T20 game of 2010 and Raina coming in at the first over went on to score 101 from 60 balls. In the end the 186 put up by the Men in Blue proved to be 12 too much for the Proteas.

6.  Makhaya Ntini retires


Makhaya Ntini over the years had been a role model and one of the most popular sportsmen in South Africa. The T20I between India and South Africa at Durban in January 2011 was set to be the fast bowler’s last international game. Both teams gave the champion bowler a deserving farewell and the game turned out to be a gala event with even Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan performing in it.

Ntini would have liked to ended on a winning note but that wasn’t to be. Rohit (53 from 34-balls), Raina (41 from 23-balls) and Ashish Nehra (4-0-22-2) ensured India a 21-run victory.

7.  Ingram-Kallis show


In what was a strange decision by the both boards, India went all the way to South Africa in March 2012 to play only a one-off T20I. Batting first, South Africa posted a mammoth 219. Colin Ingram and Jacques Kallis weaved in 119 from only 80-balls to set the platform. Ingram scored 78 from 50, while Kallis got 61 from 42.

The rains had the final say as India’s innings was halted at 71 for no loss after 7.5 overs with Gautam Gambhir on 49 from 28 and Robin Uthappa on 18 from 19. For a change the Duckworth-Lewis method was in South Africa’s side as they were declared the winners by 11 runs (D/L method).

8.  South Africa spoil India’s party

It was a World T20 game at Colombo and Australia’s defeat in hands of Pakistan meant South Africa were out of the tournament. When India posted 152, they needed to keep South Africa less than 121 to ensure they didn’t get eliminated. That didn’t happen. In fact, South Africa came very close to winning it. India finally won it by a run but couldn’t prevent elimination.

Having been knocked out of the World Twenty20 because Pakistan beat Australia, South Africa won the toss India wanted to win most, kept India down to 152, and passed 121, ensuring India would be eliminated from the tournament on net run rate.



9.  Virat Kohli guides India to the World T20 2014 final

virat kohli

The semi-final of the World T20 2014 was touted as the game of the tournament. The strong Indian side took on the AB de Villiers inspired South African side. When South Africa put up 172, many thought it was going to be a tough contest but Virat Kohli had other plans.

When the 20th over of the Indian innings began, the scores were level and Kohli was in no mood to delay the win. A flick past mid-wicket in the first ball off Dale Steyn saw India cruise to the final of the tournament.


Now it’s to Dharamsala…


(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)