Ruturaj (57 off 35) and Ishaan (54 off 35) both played aggressive cricket to take India to 179/5 in 20 overs. Apart from Gaikwad and Kishan, Hardik Pandya (31 not out on 21) finalized the Indian innings after being invited to bat first.
Chasing a challenging target, South Africa didn’t start well as India skipper Rishabh Pant included each of his five frontline bowlers in the powerplay.
The main bowlers did not allow the Proteas batsmen to settle down in any form, as Axar Patel was reduced to 38/2 by Temba Bavuma and Harshal cheated Reeza Hendrix off the last ball of the fielding restrictions.
During the middle overs, Yuzvendra Chahal changed the pace of his leg-spinners and cleverly changed his line. With a few twists on offer, his variation proved to be unheard of as Rossi van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius (20) were cleverly caught from behind by Pant, who swiftly passed him while camping on the backfoot.
The hero of the last game, Heinrich Klaasen (29), fell on the out-of-floater off Chahal, who swung away and drew the mishit skier. At the other end, Herschel produced the defining ball of the middle stage when his slower delivery dismissed David Miller for the first time in five T20I innings.
At 71/5 in the 11th over, the chase was outside South Africa, who continued to try hard. Harshal then dashed the visitors’ hopes with the wickets of Kagiso Rabada and Tabrez Shamsi to eventually bowl South Africa out for 131/10 in 19.1 overs.
Earlier, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan put on 97 runs in 10 overs for the opening wicket, 57 of which came in the powerplay. It was Gaikwad who played the attacker in the first half of that partnership, hitting five fours in the first over from Enrique Nortje – the fifth over of the match – to propel the innings.
Gaikwad scored his maiden international fifty off just 30 balls and handed it to Kishan, who used his match-up advantage against a pair of South African left-arm spinners. Two fours and a six off Maharaj got him 50 runs in 31 balls.
However, after hitting 126/1 in the first 73 balls of the innings, India managed only 53/4 in their last 7.5 overs of the innings. The South African pacers, especially Pretorius, made a good comeback and made good impact with wide lines and strategically positioned sweeper fielders.
India got a finishing kick from Hardik Pandya, who smashed an unbeaten 31 off 21 balls to take India to the point that ultimately proved to be more than enough in the night.
Brief Scores: India 179/5 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 57, Ishan Kishan 54; Dwaine Pretorius 2-29) beat South Africa 131 in 19.1 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 29; Harshal Patel 4-25, Yuzvendra Chahal 3 -20) by 48 runs.
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