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2nd ODI: South Africa beat India by 8 wickets; tied the series 1-1

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In a role-reversal of sorts, South Africa thumped India by eight wickets in the second ODI of the three-match series at St George’s Park on Tuesday (December 19) to draw level in the series with a game to play. Tony de Zorzi’s maiden ton headlined the win that was majorly set up by a collective bowling performance led by Nandre Burger (3/30) and Beuran Hendricks (2/34).

Chasing an under-par target of 212, the South African openers were severely tested in the first ten overs with the ball swinging and seaming. The variable bounce also made things harder but it was one of those days when India’s bowlers could only beat the bat and not find the edge.

Arshdeep Singh in particular cranked it up with the new ball and on another day, the hosts could have lost a plethora of early wickets like they did in the series opener. However, de Zorzi and Hendricks stood firm amidst the storm and once they weathered it, made short work of the chase.

Like in the Wanderers ODI, de Zorzi was the aggressor as his partner played second foil to good effect. It was also a fact that Hendricks couldn’t quite get the pace of the pitch as well as the left-hander who dished out some eye-catching strokes. There were plenty of shots that fit right into the league of ‘left-hander’s elegance’ and there was a general finesse about de Zorzi’s strokeplay as he took the wind out of India’s bowling.

The only time when the southpaw looked a bit nervy was when he neared his maiden ODI ton but he got there and also ensured that he was there right till the end to see things off.Earlier on, put into bat, India were off to a shocking start as Ruturaj Gaikwad fell off just the second ball of the game, LBW to a pacy Burger inswinger. The left-arm pacer proved too hot to handle in his new-ball spell as he also nipped out a struggling Tilak Varma.

However, Sai Sudharsan and skipper KL Rahul put on a steady 68-run stand to put the innings on track as India slowly managed to get some momentum into their innings. Just when the duo was starting to shift gears, Lizaad Williams took out the left-hander, much against the run of play. It was a decisive blow as the innings soon headed towards a downward spiral.

Hendricks and Burger returned in their second spells to make further inroads as the Indian innings hit the implosion button. Hendricks got Sanju Samson to chop one onto the stumps while a well-set Rahul fell prey to Burger’s craft. Rinku Singh on debut started off with a flurry but was outsmarted by the guile of Keshav Maharaj to get stumped. The innings crashed completely and if not for Arshdeep Singh’s cameo, the total wouldn’t have crossed the 200-run mark. Eventually, the tourists were at least 40-50 runs short of a competitive total although conditions did improve a tad in the second half, meaning India needed at least 275-280 to make a game of this.

Brief scores: India 211 in 46.2 overs (Sai Sudharsan 62, KL Rahul 56; Nandre Burger 3-30, Beuran Hendricks 2-34) lost to South Africa 215/2 in 42.3 overs (Tony de Zorzi 119*, Reeza Hendricks 52) by eight wickets

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