After the run deluge by the batters in the Australian series, it was time for the bowlers to call the shots in the first T20I of the three-match series between India and South Africa. The Greenfield stadium in Thiruvananthapuram lived up to its name by producing a greenish wicket that aided plenty of swing for the seamers.
The ‘English-like’ conditions saw South Africa losing half the side even before the team total had reached double figures. The visitors couldn’t recover from that abysmal start and ended up with 106 for eight in 20 overs.
The Indian batsmen didn’t have it easy in their chase either as long as Kagiso Rabada was in operation. He dismissed skipper Rohit Sharma for a duck as he troubled the batters with his pace and movement. When Anrich Nortje accounted for Virat Kohli, some jitters were felt. However, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav took their time to wear out the South African bowlers and chipped away at the paltry target with an unbroken partnership of 93 to take India home.
In the second T20 match, India beat South Africa by 16 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series on Sunday. Sent in to bat, India posted a massive 237 for three, riding on a solid batting display by the top four and then returned to restrict the visitors to 221 for 3 in the stipulated 20 overs. Quinton de Kock (69 not out) and David Miller (106 not out) did the bulk of the scoring for the visitors.
KL Rahul (57) and Rohit Sharma (43) put on a 96-run opening stand to set the foundation for India at the Barsapara cricket stadium. Suryakumar Yadav (61) then took centre stage as he smashed five boundaries and as many sixes en route to his 102-run standoff just 40 balls with Virat Kohli (49 not out). Dinesh Karthik then made some lusty blows in his seven-ball 17 not out.
Keshav Maharaj (2/23) was the most successful bowler for South Africa but it turned out to be a disastrous day for the rest of his bowling colleagues. For India, Arshdeep Singh (2/62) and Axar Patel (1/53) were the wicket-takers.