South Africa end India’s T20I winning streak in high-scoring contest in New Delhi
South Africa ended India’s 12-match impressive winning run which began after their shocking exit from the last T20 World Cup on Thursday night in New Delhi, with the visiting side powering to a 7-wicket win in the first of the five-match series contest played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
The star with the bat for South Africa in the high-scoring first T20I on Thursday night were their experienced campaigner David Miller — who carried his rich form with the bat for Gujarat Titans in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) — and their middle-order mainstay Rassie van der Dussen.
David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen helped South Africa to a win which was not only crucial from the perspective of the series and the buildup to the next T20 World Cup later this year in Australia, but the win was even more special since they defeated a talented but not a full-strength Indian side.
It must be remembered that India are playing this series under their new captain Rishabh Pant after their regular vice-captain KL Rahul — elevated to captaincy role in absence of Rohit Sharma — got himself injured and ruled out of the series.
But nothing should take the sheen off the fact that South Africa defied some of the best death bowlers India have produced in recent times — Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel — to score 64 runs in the last 5 overs. For that matter, South Africa went past the finish line with 5 balls to spare.
Rassie van der Dussen top-scored from both the teams to make 75 not out from 46 balls with 7 fours and 5 sixes, whereas David Miller smacked 5 sixes and 4 fours to score 64 not out from just 31 balls.
The right-handed Rassie van der Dussen was dropped by India batsman Shreyas Iyer in the 16th over of South Africa’s chase, with the batsman crawling to 29 from 30 balls. Post that drop, Rassie van der Dussen ripped apart the Indian bowling attack to make another 46 runs from the next 16 balls that he faced, and in the process helped his team to a big win.
Earlier in the game, Ishan Kishan showcased his mettle at the top making 76 from 48 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes, while the others contributed well enough. Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 23, Shreyas Iyer made 27-ball 36, Rishabh Pant managed 29 from 16 balls whereas Hardik Pandya — back into the Indian side after a long gap — hit 3 sixes and 2 fours to make 31 not out from only 12 balls.
It was indeed a game to forget for the bowlers who just could not make their presence felt during the game. For South Africa, Wayne Parnell took 1/32 from his 4 overs whereas Axar Patel was costly but most successful Indian bowler (as per the numbers), returning with 4-0-40-1.
The second T20I will be played on Sunday at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.