India is ahead in the T20 series against South Africa winning the first match. After India batsmen Shikhar Dhawan knocked a 39 ball 72 to bolster India’s score to 203, bowlers defended the score spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It was the highest score of India against South Africa in the shortest format. In reply, South Africa continued the chase only till 175 for 9 wickets, as the team surrendered the match to India by 28 runs. The home team was aided by Reeza Hendricks who scored 70 off 50 balls at the beginning of the inning. India tackled the batting line-up resisting partnerships and clipping away the lower order.
Sent in to bat first, India openers feasted on the slackened bowling from Dane Paterson. There were several wide deliveries and short bowling, which Rohit Sharm and Dhawan took full advantage of. In his 9 ball 21, Sharma knocked 2 sixes and 2 fours. Suresh Raina batting after Sharma, played with a full exposure of his stumps to beat a six and 2 fours for his 15 off 7. However, Dhawan kept his game low even if he did not stop knocking a boundary once in a while hauling his score to the highest. He went up partnering with Virat Kohli in the middle order beating his half century. Kohli was down in the 10th over trapped by Shamsi scoring 26 off 20 balls.
Dhawan played to the 15th over until removed by Andile Phehlukwayo. Manish Pandey played a slow inning partnering with MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya in the last 5 overs. The players took the score to run pass 200th mark. In the inning debutant bowler Dala took 2 wickets in the beginning of the inning, while Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi and Phehlukwayo finished with a single each.
South Africa was not that week while chasing with a strong start 200% run rate in the first couple of overs. It was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who pulled up the red flag for home players taking down the top order by the seventh over. After the 6th over, even if the chase was at 48, South Africa lost 48, including JP Duminy and David Miller. In the middle overs, Farhan Behardien and Hendricks piled up a good 81 runs in a partnership of more than 8 overs. Still, the win seemed a bit far away with the team requiring 86 off 41 balls.
Yuzvendra Chahal took down Behardien to end his knock 39 runs. The win for India was clearly visible at this point when in the last three overs South Africa required 50 runs to win. Kumar attacked again in the 18th over taking down Henrich Klaasen, Chris Morris and Dane Patterson, slogging the inning to 159 for 8. The bowler was awarded player of the match for his match winning stance.
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