A disciplined bowling effort from South Africa tied India down and kept them to 134/9 in the third T20I in Bangalore on Sunday evening. Opting to bat first, India had raced to 54 at the Powerplay but South Africa pulled things back and kept chipping away with wickets. Kagiso Rabada did most damage with 3/39, aided well by Bjorn Fortuin and Beuran Hendricks – who came in for Anrich Nortje.
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South Africa were wayward from the beginning. Rabada, bowling the second, went for 17 runs, including back to back boundaries off the bat of Rohit Sharma, before the opener edged Hendricks – off his first ball.
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For a moment, it seemed like India had made up their minds to put up at least 180 on board and judging by how Shikhar Dhawan was middling the ball, it looked extremely likely. India were cruising along, and Dhawan, who sent the first ball of the match – a half tracker from Fortuin for a four – led the charge.
Andile Phehlukwayo was taken for consecutive boundaries and Tabraiz Shamsi, who called himself the kind of bowler who spoils batsmen’s party in T20Is, was welcomed with consecutive sixes. He tonked the wristspinner over long on and cleared the long-off fielder the ball after. However, Shamsi did manage to live up to that moniker when Dhawan skied him for a catch to Temba Bavuma
At Dhawan’s exit, it was as if India’s momentum was stolen. Virat Kohli faced 15 balls for nine – before falling to Rabada and with two huge wickets gone, it was up to Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer to take India forward. Pant began well, drilling a boundary through midwicket and then scooping Dwaine Pretorius to clear the rope. But South Africa were not going to allow this partnership to flourish. The bowlers mixed things up which slowed the scoring and India caved to the pressure.
Fortuin slowed it down and once again, a nothing shot led to Pant’s dismissal for a 20-ball 19. Shreyas Iyer went down to the wicket and was out stumped, while Krunal Pandya feathered Hendricks. From 79/3 at the half-way mark, India were gasping for air at 98/6.
Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya tried to break the shackles combining to thwack a boundary and six between themselves, but Rabada delivered a wonderful final over in which India lost three wickets. Jadeja was out caught and bowled, Sundar run out and Hardik caught in the deep.