South Africa Beat India in Do-or-Die Match to Seal T20 Series

October 06 00:08 2015

kohli1New Delhi, Tuesday, October 6 – India were eying to level the series by winning 2nd T20 match played at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack on Monday, October 5 as this was required to stay alive in the competition. However, they failed after outstanding fielding by the South African players.

The Men In Blue were invited to bat first after Faf du Plessis, the skipper of South Africa, won the toss and decided to field first. The motto was to restrict India at a low score and have an easy chase. Travelers made use of the lessons learnt in the first match and didn’t let the rivals make best use of home turf and familiar conditions.

Shikhar Dhawan was once again the first man to be dismissed. He scored 11 runs of 12 balls, including a couple of boundaries. On a delivery of Chris Morris, the opener got his legs begore wickets. Second jolt was felt early too in the form of Virat Kohli. When he arrived on the crease, hopes were surging. But Rohit Sharma, who wasn’t hitting the ball hard this time as like the previous match, looked for two runs when Kohli wasn’t prepared. Had there been an eye contact between them whether to run for an extra run or not while taking the single, Kohli would have managed to reach the safe line a bit prior before the ball took the bails off the stumps. Morris was quick to send the ball towards the wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, who made sure another wicket is taken by South Africa.

Suresh Raina arrived on the 22 yards pitch to hold the fort and display his natural game. He and Sharma have just started to pile up some runs but soon Rohit was sent back to the pavilion thanks to a brilliant run out by David Miller. Off 24 balls, the 28-year-old cricketer attained 22 runs, which consisted of two 4s. The Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni sent Ambati Rayudu a bit earlier to bat but did get to see the expected performance as the middle-order batsman was out on a naught. Not to forget that he was run out for a duck in the previous match a despite the  fact that it wasn’t its fault. A little hesitation to run of a single with Dhoni made the right-handed player Rayudu think for a while whether to run or not. And, the challengers took advantage of the uncertainty between them.

A pivotal knock from Dhoni was the dire need of that moment. Hopes were surging from him and Raina, who hit three boundaries to pocket 22 runs in 24 balls. Before Dhoni (5 runs of 8 balls) could have gotten any further, Albie Morkel ended his stint. Raina was dismissed next and this time Imran Tahir was the man to give required breakthrough. Harbhajan Singh’s dismissal at a zero was a true shock for India as he houses the potential to hit biggies and increase the pace of scoring runs. He could have let his team taste success in the do-or-die match had the spinner been able to stay a tad long on the 22 yards pitch. Wonderful delivery by Tahir left the player in a state of surprise and giving India a major jolt as wickets continued to fall from one end.

Morkel earned wickets of Axar Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar at 9 runs and 0 run, respectively. Ravichandran Ashwin struck a four and was expected to add to some substantial runs in the team’s total score. He was playing at a score of 11 when Morris stunned him with a good bowling. The lower-order player was the last man to go back. Mohit Sharma faced 4 balls but didn’t pocket any run.  India were all out for 92 runs in 17.2 overs. It was easy to understand how tough was it to defend this small total when they weren’t able to defend 199 runs scored in 1st T20 International. None Indian player made the ball cross the fences. No sixes in the shortest format resulted in low score. Such show wasn’t likely especially when some big names were part of a crucial game.

Albie Morkel was the leading wicket taker as he showed three batsmen the direction towards the pavilion. Morris and Imran Tahir for two wickets each, while Kagiso Rabada earned one wicket. Kyle Abbott got no wickets. Rotational bowlers were impressive. The start wasn’t good for South Africa too for the reason that opening player Hashim Amla was out at 2 runs. The wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers played knock of 19 runs in 21 balls (4 x 2) but once again succumbed to Ashwin after dismissal of du Plessis at 16 runs, which comprised a couple of fours and a six.

JP Duminy made no mistake and gave his team a desired support another time by playing a knock of 30 runs in 39 balls (4 x 3). He remained unbeaten till the end and let South Africa seal series. Farhaan Behardien was out at 11 runs, while Miller was not out at 10 runs scored in 8 balls (6 x 1). Victory was once again taken away from India. South Africa scored 96 runs for the loss of four wickets. The final T20 tournament on Thursday, October 8, between India and South Africa remains a formality. Even if India win it, nothing’s going to change. But yes, a triumph at the end may help them gain form and confidence before the One-Day International matches begin. Eden Gardens, Kolkata, is to host the last blow. As of now Proteas are enjoying their recent win on India, who are tough to beat.

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