Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Heinrich Klaasen and stand-in captain JP Duminy smashed 69 and 64 not out respectively as South Africa not only beat India by six wickets in the second Twenty20 International in Centurion, but they also levelled the series at 1-1.
Opting to bowl first, South Africa got their first breakthrough on the seventh ball of the match as India opener Rohit Sharma was given out lbw off the bowling of Junior Dala for a golden duck.
Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina made up for the loss of Rohit with a 44-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by Farhaan Behardien at mid-on off the bowling of Duminy for 24.
India skipper Virat Kohli fell the very next over as he was caught behind off the bowling of Dala for one run.
Raina and Manish Pandey steadied things with a 45-run stand before Raina was trapped lbw off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo for 31.
Despite losing Raina, India ended their innings on a high as Pandey and MS Dhoni put together an unbeaten 98-run stand, during which both batsmen surpassed their half-centuries.
Pandey ended up making 79 off 48 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes, while Dhoni remained undefeated on 52 off 28 deliveries, which included four boundaries and three sixes.
Thanks to them, India finished on 188/4 off their 20 overs.
Dala was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Phehlukwayo and Duminy chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 189 to win, South Africa were dealt two early blows as JJ Smuts and Reeza Hendricks were sent packing by Jaydev Unadkat and debutant Shardul Thakur respectively.
Duminy and Klaasen stabilised the innings with a 93-run partnership, during which Klaasen sailed past his fifty.
With the Proteas making great headway towards their target, India began to fight back, starting with the dismissal of Klaasen, who was caught behind off the bowling of Unadkat for a 30-ball 69, which included three boundaries and seven sixes.
Even though David Miller fell shortly after, Duminy and Behardien finished things off with an unbeaten 48-run partnership.
Duminy scored 64 off 40 balls, which included four boundaries and three sixes, while Behardien struck a six during his 10-ball 16.
Unadkat was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Thakur and Hardik Pandya claimed one wicket each.
Kohli was disappointed to have lost, and said: “It was a tough one for the bowlers. We were looking at 175 with the loss of early wickets. Manish and Raina batted well and then Manish and MS got us to 190. I thought it was a winning total.
“Then the weather made it hard for the bowlers. Till the 12th over it was fine but the drizzle made it bad. South Africa took calculated risks, credit to them. [About the conditions] We didn’t really have problems with the conditions, it was a constant drizzle, was fine to play. We expect them to show a fight and show some heart and they deserved to win tonight.”
Duminy was delighted to have won and kept his side alive in the series, and said: “At the toss we spoke about this being a semi-final and taking the series to Newlands. We kept our composure with the bat after taking early wickets. I just thought the way Klaasen came and played with freedom – we kept up with the rate. It was raining pretty similarly in our innings as well but I was comfortable when we were ahead of the rate.
“[The maiden first over] really set the tone. They came at us but the key for us was taking the wickets and we got three up front. To chase down 189 is a pretty good effort. It’ll be nice to play in front of my home crowd [in the next match] and hopefully we put up a spectacle there.”
Klaasen was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s really special, at my home ground – it was something I dreamt of as a kid. [About his various sweeps] Not a wicketkeeper thing, you just gotta put the bowler under pressure and show them your skills. I’ve got a cool, calm head at the moment and I’m pleased with my cricket over the last year and a half.”