South Africa vs India 3rd T20: Raina stars as India claim 2-1 series win

Suresh Raina 43 South Africa India 3rd T20 Cape Town cricket

Suresh Raina was named Man of the Match for his all-round performance

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Suresh Raina smashed a quickfire 43 and took a wicket as India held their nerve to beat South Africa by seven runs in the third Twenty20 International in Cape Town.

Choosing to bowl first, South Africa got their first breakthrough on the ninth ball of the match as India stand-in captain Rohit Sharma was trapped lbw off the bowling of Junior Dala for 11.

Raina and Shikhar Dhawan made up for the loss of Rohit with a 65-run partnership before Raina was dismissed by Tabraiz Shamsi for 27-ball 43, which included five boundaries and a six.

Manish Pandey only made 11 before he became Dala’s second victim, while Dhawan went on to make 47 off 40 deliveries, which included three boundaries.

Even though India continued to lose wickets, Hardik Pandya smashed a 17-ball 21 to help his side finish on 172/7.

Dala was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Chris Morris snapped up two and Shamsi chipped in with one.

Chasing 173 to win, South Africa lost opener Reeza Hendricks early on as he was sent packing by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for seven runs.

Just as the Proteas were beginning to rebuild their innings, Raina took out David Miller, who made 24.

Once Miller was gone, South Africa began losing wickets at regular intervals, including that of stand-in captain JP Duminy, who struck a 41-ball 55, which included two boundaries and three sixes.

JP Duminy 55 South Africa India 3rd T20 Cape Town cricket

JP Duminy scored his 11th half-century in the shortest format

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

However, just as India seemed to have wrapped things up, debutant Christiaan Jonker and Farhaan Behardien gave the tourists a major scare as they amassed a 51-run partnership in just over three overs.

Despite their efforts, Jonker and Behardien couldn’t lead South Africa to victory.

Jonker, who was dismissed on the final ball of the match, scored 49 off 24 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, while Behardien remained undefeated on 15 off six deliveries, which included three boundaries.

Christiaan Jonker 49 South Africa India 3rd T20 Cape Town cricket

Christiaan Jonker fell one agonising run short of a fifty on debut

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Kumar was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Raina, Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur claimed one wicket each.

Duminy was gutted to have lost, and said: “They bowled pretty well in the Powerplay, and we just couldn’t get the boundaries. The difference from their batting Powerplay and ours was 30 runs. I definitely thought 170 was chaseable.

“The slower balls and the knuckle balls from them worked. I am proud of the way the guys fought, especially Jonker. It is amazing to see a lot of talent coming through. All credit to India, outstanding white-ball tour for them.”

Rohit was relieved to have won the match, and said: “To be honest, we were 15 runs short. Because the way the first half went, I thought we lost our way in the end. These things happen and we learn from it. I thought it was a decent score and the bowlers did the job for us.

“I hope games like these teach us a lot of things. We discussed certain plans and it worked today. The idea was to keep the ball on the stumps and we kept it tight in the first six overs. Credit to the new-ball bowlers. It was a complete bowling performance.

“We will take these limited-overs trophies, throughout the series we played with a lot of aggression. As a group, we never back down from any situation. That is the reason we are standing here as winners.”

Raina was named Man of the Match, and said: “Especially in the first overs, you need to show intent. Thanks to Virat and RaviĀ bhai, they gave me the licence. They way we played, the dressing room atmosphere is so calm. The last we have done in two-and-a-half months, no team has done it in a long time. Two lefties at the crease, I got a ball, and working on it.”

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