Quinton de Kock led from the front to score a half-century but India pulled things back to overcome his dominating knock to keep South Africa to 149/5. de Kock registered his third T20I fifty and in the company of Temba Bavuma, seemed to be leading South Africa towards the average score of 175-plus at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. But a terrific comeback staged by India after de Kock’s exit stopped South Africa inside 150 after they were cruising at one stage at 88 for 1.
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South Africa began briskly with de Kock setting the tone. In his first match as South Africa captain, de Kock began scored a boundary off the first ball before taking three back-to-back off Navdeep Saini. His partner Reeza Hendricks however, fell to a loose shot skiing Deepak Chahar to Washington Sundar at mid-on.
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New man in Bavuma took some time initially but once he hooked Hardik Pandya over deep square leg, there was no looking back. Runs began to come thick and fast with taking Pandya for back-to-back boundaries in his next. The 10th over cost India 14 runs as South Africa started reaping the benefits of a flourishing stand between Bavuma and his skipper, both taking 40 balls combined to bring up a half-century partnership.
De Kock reached his half-century off 35 balls thanks to some extravagant strokeplay and it took a special effort in the field from his counterpart Virat Kohli to end the South Africa captain’s dominating knock. De Kock did not middle Saini as well as he’d have liked to and with the ball was seemingly clearing Kohli at mid-off, but a last-minute, full-stretched dive allowed the India skipper to hold on to a remarkable catch.
From there, South Africa’s scoring rate dipped. Rassie van der Dussen offered a return catch to Ravindra Jadeja shortly after and India began to pile the pressure with some sharp bowling. Sundar crippled the progress coming round the wicket and limiting David Miller to singles. Even Bavuma could score just one more boundary since that expensive over from Pandya.
With South Africa primed for a late surge, India pegged them back with the wickets of Bavuma and Miller in quick succession. Trying to clear the fielder at long on, Bavuma found Jadeja and fell one short of a half-century, and in the next over, Miller missed a slog and was clean bowled by Pandya. India’s discipline could be gauged by the fact that they did not bowl a wide or a no ball through the innings.
Between overs 15 and 19, India conceded only 11 runs before a couple of sixes each by Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris lifted South Africa in the final over.