Heinrich Klaasen registered a career-best score as South Africa defeated India by four wickets in the second T20 International at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Klaasen scored a brilliant 46-ball 81, for which he bagged the player of the match award, as the Proteas won with 10 balls to spare after opting to bowl first and restricting Rishabh Pant and Co to 148/6 in their 20 overs.
India were in the game despite a below-par total thanks to a sensational opening spell from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right-arm pacer dismissed Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius and the in-form Rassie van der Dussen in the powerplay to bring his team back in the contest.
Bhuvneshwar went on to finish with fantastic figures of 4/14 from his four overs, after dismissing Wayne Parnell later on, but his effort wasn’t enough as Klaasen stole the show with his knock.
The wicketkeeper-batter added a 64-run partnership for the fourth wicket with South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma (35 off 30), before getting together with David Miller (20* off 15) to power the visitors towards victory. Klaasen hit seven fours and five sixes in his knock and was devastating in his counterattack.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was given just one over and conceded 19 runs in it, while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal got the wicket of Bavuma but leaked 49 runs in his four overs.
Earlier, India weren’t off to a great start with the bat as opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (1 off 4) was dismissed in the first over.
Ishan Kishan (34 off 21) and Shreyas Iyer (40 off 25) then added a partnership but the latter struggled to get the boundaries and the Proteas got the advantage.
Rishabh Pant (5 off 7) and Hardik Pandya (9 off 12) couldn’t get going, on what proved to be an uneven pitch, and it came down to Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 30 off 21 at the death to guide India to a respectable total.
Kagiso Rabada (1/15), Parnell (1/23), Anrich Nortje (2/36), Pretorius (1/40) and Keshav Maharaj (1/12 from two overs) were the wicket-takers for South Africa.
The third match of the series will be played in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.