Following a rain-induced washout in the first T20I, the Proteas claimed a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series with a convincing 5-wicket win against India.
Despite a less-than-promising weather forecast in Gqeberha, the pitch was covered to shield it from rain. South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl first, putting India on the batting crease.
The First Innings Bout
India seemed to strike a good balance with the exciting opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubhman Gill, both of whom showed amazing form with the bat in the past year, given the opportunities.However, Marco Jansen and Lizaad Williams stepped up to the task, getting both openers out for a duck. India was 6/2 after the first two overs.
Following the openers’ exit, Captain Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma took charge, shouldering the responsibility of rebuilding the innings. In T20Is, India consistently tops ICC rankings, with Suryakumar Yadav’s pivotal role as the no.1 batsman contributing significantly.. Following a powerplay setback, the skipper, Suryakumar Yadav, showcased resilience, scoring a 36-ball 56. This effort propelled him to 2000 T20I runs, making him the fastest to reach this landmark, surpassing Australia’s Aaron Finch.
Since Coetzee got rid of Tilak Varma in the 6th over, Rinku Singh, the recent favorite for many, had to walk in before the end of the powerplay. What does a performer truly need? An audience? Acknowledgment for their work? For Rinku Singh, it’s a stage. He patiently let his skipper build it, and when the stage was set, he delivered a captivating performance; be it steering the ball towards the boundary or dancing off the pitch in the 19th over to shatter some boxes, both literally and figuratively. A 30-ball 50 that concluded in a 39-ball 68, the innings was no short of a ballad, performed by everyone’s favorite bard, Rinku. India managed to put up a good total of 180 by the end of the innings.
Gerald Coetzee concluded with figures of 3/32, taking crucial wickets, including Tilak Varma, Ravindra Jadeja, and Arshdeep Singh towards the end of the innings. However, the man who stole the show was Tabraiz Shamsi. Despite only securing one wicket, Shamsi played a pivotal role in dismissing the Indian Skipper in the 14th over, who was appearing increasingly dangerous. The left-arm wrist spinner Shamsi only gave away 18 runs in 4 overs in a game where the overall run rate of the batting team was 9; he bowled at an economy of 4.50.
The anticlimactic chase
A brief rain interruption disallowed the home side from bowling the last 3 balls, reducing their target to 152 in 15 overs. The situation demanded South Africans to be more explosive. The openers unleashed their carnage, scoring 38 runs in the first 2 overs, no holds barred. With a damp outfield and favorable outside edges, they scored 67/1 in the powerplay, spanning 5 overs. However, a regrettable miscommunication between the batters resulted in the loss of one wicket.
The damage was done. With little room to breathe, Indian bowlers concluded with figures they’d hope to forget. Reeza Hendricks’ quickfire 49 ensured his teammates had an easier task, making sure that SA defeat India in the 2nd T20I.
Follow the full scorecard here