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2nd T20I: South Africa won by 5 wkts (DLS) against India: Shamsi, Hendricks architects of SA 1-0 lead

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South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series with a five-wicket win over India at Gkeberha. South Africa won on the DLS method as rain repeatedly interrupted.

Put in to bat on a pitch that was under covers for a while, India put on 180/7 on the board, thanks to fifties from Suryakumar Yadav and Rinku Singh, before rain arrived with three balls left in the innings. South Africa’s adjusted target of 152 in 15 overs was driven by Reeza Hendricks’ 27-ball 49 and achieved with seven balls to spare, but wasn’t without its fair share of drama as India found ways to overcome conditions consistently against them.

With Ruturaj Gaikwad unavailable due to illness, India were saved from a difficult choice at the top of the order but the organically assembled opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill totalled zero runs between them. Jaiswal was out off the third ball of the innings, trying to back-cut a delivery from Marco Jansen and offering a sharp chance to David Miller at point; Gill was trapped on the back leg by Lizaad Williams, leaving India wobbling at 6/2 after two overs.

Gerald Coetzee to Suryakumar Yadav: that was the contest. First ball, a yorker. Second ball, a drive-and-a-miss outside off-stump. Third ball, a cover drive for a boundary. Another four and six followed later in the over as India captain Suryakumar added 15 runs in the third over and then 13 runs in the next to help India repair their PowerPlay and finish at 59/3. This 29-ball fifty was Suryakumar’s fourth in the last five matches and also delivered him to 2000 runs in the T20I format, the second-fastest batter to that milestone in terms of innings taken.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the IPL or the Asian Games or a home series against Australia or an overseas tour of South Africa, Rinku Singh scores everywhere. This time, he walked out to bat inside the PowerPlay after Tilak Varma’s dismissal and got off the mark with a classic straight drive first-ball. He then let the in-form Suryakumar take the lead, playing the perfect foil while scoring the next five runs off 10 balls. The gears went into overdrive with consecutive boundaries off Marco Jansen, followed by flicking, cutting, pulling and even stepping out to Aiden Markram in the 19th over for back-to-back sixes. His 30-ball fifty was his first in T20Is, doing his World Cup selection chances no harm.

Gerald Coetzee, who had dismissed Tilak Varma and then added the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja and Arshdeep Singh, returned figures of 3 for 32 but the pick of the bowlers was Tabraiz Shamsi who finished with 1 for 18, the wicket being that of hard-hitting Suryakumar. The left-arm legspinner was named Player of the Match for his frugal bowling figures in a T20I match where the average scoring rate was above 10.

Mohammed Siraj conceded three boundaries in the first over of the run-chase but two of them were off outside edges. With every passing minute, the South Africa batters looked more and more comfortable at the crease, not in the least because the ball got wet on a moist outfield in the aftermath of the rain delay. The openers set the side on course to 67/1 in the five PowerPlay overs (reduced from six in a rain-affected match) and it took a sharp Tilak Varma throw to end an explosive first-wicket stand of 42. But the damage had been done.

… but the bowlers had left themselves with too little wiggle room towards the end. South Africa were going comfortably at 96/1 when Mukesh Kumar banged one short and had the in-form Markram top-edging to the deep. Reeza Hendricks, going hammer at tongs at the other end, was caught off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav in the next over but it was when Heinrich Klaasen was caught off the bowling of Mohammed Siraj that India started to believe. The moment witnessed South Africa with two new batters at the crease, with 44 runs still needed. But David Miller struck crucial runs only for Tristan Stubbs and Andile Phehlukwayo to finish things off.

Brief Scores: India 180/7 in 19.3 overs (Rinku 68*, Suryakumar 56; Coetzee 3-32) lost to South Africa 154/5 in 13.5 overs (Hendricks 49; Mukesh 2-34) by 5 wickets (DLS)

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