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India beat South Africa by 7 runs in Cape Town T20, win three-match series 2-1

India defeated South Africa by seven runs in the third and final T20 at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday to win the series 2-1

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2018 01:29 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Indian cricket team
India held off a late fightback from South Africa to win the third and final T20 in Cape Town by 7 runs and win the series 2-1.(BCCI)

Experienced first-class cricketer Christiaan Jonker, who was handed his international debut on Saturday night, brought South Africa close to a shocking win before India held their nerve in the last over to win the third and final T20 International by seven runs at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, winning the series 2-1 in the process. (India vs South Africa, 3rd T20 - HIGHLIGHTS)

Jonker made a 24-ball 49 and put on 51 runs in 3.3 overs with Farhaan Behardien for the sixth wicket at over 14.5 runs an over to bring his side close after they had looked down and out as late as the 18th over. (India vs South Africa, 3rd T20 - SCORECARD)

South Africa’s strategy to open the innings with David Miller didn’t work out as the left-handed batsman, who has earned his stripes as a dasher, was probably expected to give a rousing start to the team.

But the slow pace of the wicket, its two-paced nature, was too much for him as he failed to get going, first out of his own volition perhaps in order to settle down and then failing to connect the shots. His watchful 23-ball 24 coupled with the slow knock from fellow opener Reeza Hendricks left a lot for the latter order batsmen.

It was probably the starts which made the difference. After seven overs, India were 62 for one while South Africa had snailed to 30 for one. Then, after 10 overs, while the Proteas were 52 for one, India had been 81 for two and a 17-run over from Tabraiz Shamsi was just around the corner.

South Africa had no such luxury of finding a weak link in the India bowling attack and when they found a couple, it was too late at the end.

Perhaps not trusting his left-arm spinner Axar Patel, Rohit bowled Suresh Raina for a couple of runs in the initial part of South Africa innings. The experienced offie did well to restrict the run flow. And although Axar did leak a few runs in the over he was given, Rohit had the luxury of fall back on Raina for the final over of the fifth bowler’s quota. Eventually, Raina did prove expensive but he had done enough to complement India’s tight start in the powerplay.

Earlier, Raina had given India the fillip early on as they raced to a great start. After India’s stand-in captain lost the toss and his wicket early --- India were 14/1, it was left to Raina and Shikhar Dhawan to help India begin strongly in pursuit of a strong total. Raina took the fight to the opposition, outscoring his in-form partner Dhawan by a distance. Till the time he was there, it looked like India would get close to 200 at least.

However, once he was out, India struggled a bit and only a late surge from Hardik Pandya (21 off 17) and Dinesh Karthik (13 off 6) saw them through to their eventual total.

On Saturday, Farhaan Behardien had pointed out that a total between 160 and 180 would be a good one. Going by his view, India had done enough.

Raina began with a six, flicking one from Junior Dala over the deep square leg boundary.

Though the Proteas have finally given up on bowling short at India batsmen, and the strategy probably worked against Dhawan in the last two games, it seemed to have helped Raina, who otherwise has struggled against short deliveries throughout his career.

Raina cashed in on length deliveries, welcoming Andile Phehlukwayo with two boundaries through extra cover.

While he has pushed his case for a slot in ODIs, Manish Pandey, who had made 79 in the last game at No. 5 and was slotted in this game at No. 4, fell just when India needed another quick knock from him, particularly with Dhawan struggling to get the boundaries at the other end. The Karnataka batsman holed out to long on off pacer Dala.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 21:49 IST