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A blistering start for India (100 in the 9th over) and a terrific finish by Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over which saw SA lose four wickets was the difference in the end - it was an even contest otherwise, it must be said.
As it turned out, it was another comfortable win for Kohli’s men - as they have now won 7 out of the last games played on this tour.
We’ll leave you with this interesting stat nugget. Thanks for joining in.
Who’s going to be the man of the match? As someone partial to bowling, hope it goes to Bhuvi even though would Dhawan would deserve it as much.
JP Duminy: Thought we pulled it back nicely after they got 100 in 8 overs. Not enough partnerships, soft dismissals for me and David. Back to the drawing board. (It was) a plan to keep it short at them early on but it backfired a bit. Need to keep working hard (on fielding). Senior guys need to step out.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, man of the match: Just wanted to bowl good areas. Seeing how they were bowling, we decided to take pace off the balls and it worked. I enjoy bowling in tough situations, that’s how I have been doing in all formats lately. I am enjoying my cricket.
Virat Kohli: Early on my innings, tweaked a glute a little bit, thankfully not a hammy. Wanted to go off early to avoid a muscle tear. Really good wicket to bat on, the start was outstanding. Rohit’s 21 off 9 was crucial, Dhawan was brilliant. It was a team batting effort. Bhuvi showed his experience with the ball, Jassi and Unadkat chipped in. It was a complete effort and what we have wanted to do in this format. They bowled a good last couple of overs, thought 220 was possible. Basic message to the team was that we are here till the 25th (February), it’s not like we were going to leave early so might as well put in our best throughout, great to have new faces in the squad, players wanting to prove themselves.
09:30 pm: A few reactions coming in, as India record their 6th win in 7 limited overs games on this tour.
END OF THE MATCH - India win by 28 runs: South Africa finish on 175/9 with Unadkat taking a wicket off the last over, Phehlukwayo finding Chahal at point. Unadkat finishes with a couple of dot balls. What a performance this by India.
After 19 overs, SA 169/8: 10 runs from the Bumrah over, thanks to a full toss (no ball) hit to third man for four but only from the remaining five.
After 18 overs, SA 159/8 - FOUR WICKETS IN OVER! WHAT AN AMAZING OVER THAT IS BY BHUVI: Deserves the ALL CAPS treatment surely.
17.1: Hendricks, c Dhoni b Bhuvi - a slower ball scooped high and nicely into Dhoni’s gloves.
17.4: Klaasen, c Raina b Bhuvi - a nice catch at long on. BHUVI’s career-best.
17.5: Morris, c Raina b Bhuvi - a nice catch at long on, part II. BHUVI’s fifth!
17.6: Paterson, run-out by Pandya/Dhoni - a team hat-trick.
After 17 overs, SA 154/4 - PANDYA CONCEDES 15: Still less than the req’d rate but a great over for SA nonetheless. Klaasen finishes with a straight six followed by a scoop over third man. SA not throwing in the towel just yet.
Meanwhile, looks like Dhoni is in charge in the middle because
After 16 overs, SA 139/4: Hendricks continues the good fight. Starts and ends Bumrah’s over with boundaries. First one is straight past the bowler, over mid-off. And off the last ball, an outside edge lobs over short third man.
After 15 overs, SA 129/4 - Chahal strikes after all: Chahal won’t be rushing back to play at the Wanderers anytime soon after his figures in the pink ODI and today, but he finishes his spell with a much-needed breakthrough for India! As he does always, tosses it up despite being under pressure. Behardien loses his shape, one hand comes off the bat and he finds Pandey at long on.
After 14 overs, India 121/3: Bumrah comes back into the attack and concedes a six off the very first ball - Behardien flicks a half volley over square leg - but comes back very well to concede just 3 more singles. Full balls mixed with slower ones.
After 13 overs, India 112/3 - Fifty for Hendricks: The opener has played a great hand so far, and that’s his first T20I fifty. Unadkat comes back and concedes 9 runs, including a four to Behardien - cut past a diving fielder at point. Unadkat’s goes around the wicket after that and tightens things.
SA need 92 from 42...
After 12 overs, SA 103/3 - Chahal is being taken to the cleaners: 31 runs from his first 3 overs, 14 from his 3rd with Behardien playing a well-timed reverse sweep, followed by a flat sweep and a cut past point by Hendricks - moves on to 47 off 35. And the 50-run partnership as well.
South Africa 79/3 in 10 overs, need another 125 in another 10 overs: India’s 100 came in the 9th over, SA are yet to cross 80 at the end of the 10th. Behardien and Hendricks are strengthening their busy little partnership but they need a few big hits soon. Just like the one by Behardien in that over off Chahal - straight and long, drilled a full ball over the bowler’s head.
After 9 overs, SA 68/3: A couple of quiet overs for both teams. Chahal comes on in the 8th over, concedes just 6. Pandya concedes 7 from his over. Behardien and Hendricks rebuild but the req’d rate is shooting up...
Meanwhile, this is that Bumrah effort we were talking about.
After 7 overs, SA 55/3 - MILLER TIME IS OVER: Before it could get started really. 14 runs from Hardik Pandya’s first over but he’ll be glad to send Miller back - a man who could be so dangerous in a run-chase, especially at the Wanderers. A slower ball is miscued high and Dhawan takes another smart high catch.
Off the first ball of the over, Bumrah put in a sensational effort on the boundary line to push a top-edge back into the field. This would have just one run with the old rules, but since he had stepped on the triangle before jumping up in the air, it’s ruled six.
End of powerplay, SA 41/2 AFTER 6 overs: What a strart from Bumrah and what an end to India’s powerplay with the ball. They scored 78 (their record) from the first 6, but have conceded just 41.
After 5 overs, SA 38/2 - SMART CATCH BY RAINA: He enjoyed that one. Raina, one of India’s best fielders at his peak, makes his presence felt with a smart running back, sprinting backwards from midwicket as Duminy flicked one high but not long. Brilliant bowling by Bhuvi, who kept it on the good length through out - dried up runs, and with just 3 from that over, Duminy is under pressure and loses his wicket trying to up the ante.
After 4 overs, SA 35/1: A super comeback by Unadkat after conceding 14 in the first. Just 5 from this one, as he mixes up his with cutters and full balls.
After 3 overs, SA 30/1 - Bhuvi strikes: After getting hit for a six - a truly remarkable off drive by Hendricks, as he just chips with minimal follow through - Bhuvi strikes with the knuckle ball. That ever-reliable knuckle ball that has fetched him so many ODI and T20 wickets. Smuts hits it high - very, very high! - and Dhawan takes a well-judged high catch in the deep and celebrates with his usual slap on the thigh.
After 2 overs, SA 20/0: India had a magnificent first over, it’s the second for South Africa. Hendricks gets going with a punch through cover off Unadkat and Smuts finishes the over with a couple of boundaries to his name. Unadkat had a slip in that over, with his footing giving way at the landing stride.
After 1 over, SA 6/0: What a comeback by Bhuvi after conceding four off the very first ball. Local boy Smutts swats one past point for four, but 2 from the rest of the over. Finishes the over with a beaut of a delivery - it’s a knuckle ball, it drifts in, lands full, straightens a bit and bounces over the stumps. PEACH!
07:50 pm: JJ Smuts and Reese Hendricks - two prolific domestic T20 performers for SA are out in the middle... Bhuvi, back in the side, will start off.
Innings break: This is India’s highest T20I score against South Africa but...
Innings break: There were some eyebrows raised by KL Rahul not being in the XI, given his recent T20 exploits, but were India really going to bench Dhawan in that form? Truly not and he showed why. Such rich vein of form and he made it count with a blistering 39-ball 72.
After 20 overs, India 203/5 - a superb final over: What a way to bounce back by Paterson who got carted around in the early stages of the match. A wide, and a couple of twos means it’s just 9 runs off the 20th. Paterson kept firing it in full, no experimentation with lengths. That’s good, old-fashioned death bowling.
Pandya finishes 13* (7) and Pandey gets 29* (27)... do India have enough?
After 19 overs, India 194/5 - DHONI GONE, 11 from that over: Morris strikes off the very first ball of his final over, and it’s the big wicket of Dhoni, who tries to be cheeky and not brutal - steps across to play a paddle sweep, misses a full delivery on the legstump, and his bowled. Pandya comes in and hits a couple of boundaries - pulled one in front of square, then squeezes out a full ball behind square.
After 18 overs, India 183/4 - 8 runs from that over: Paterson would be happy with that after conceding a boundary off the second ball. That was a Dhoni special - it was full, on the offstump and bludgeoned with all his might past midoff. Pandey, meanwhile, is having a bit of a nightmare, unable to find the boundaries and facing a few too dot many balls. On 24 off 23 right now.
After 17 overs, India 175/4: 11 runs from the Morris over that was going quite well for South Africa as MS Dhoni, the wily old customer he is, finishes it off with a sliced four through point - knew this was going to be full and outside off, he just guides it there. There was 7 runs from the first five balls including a dropped catch by Shamsi at short fine leg off Pandey... South Africa’s catching has been pretty dire.
After 16 overs, India 164/4: 7 runs from Shami’s final over of the day and he’ll be very happy with that. Pandey starts off with a late cut for 3, but only from the next 5 balls - perhaps the Indians wanted to see him off and take on the faster bowlers.
Four to go, can India post 220? (Which feels like par on this wicket)
Meanwhile, some bad news for cricket fans...
After 15 overs, India 157/4 - DHAWAN GONE: After playing so many wonderful shots, Dhawan’s innings ends with a poorly executed stroke - you live by the sword, you die by it. He doesn’t pick a slow ball from Phehlukwayo, pre-meditates a scoop, doesn’t have any pace to work with, loops it to Klaasen who takes a nice low catch. He’s gone for 72 0ff 39 balls - a fine innings!
Out walks MS Dhoni...
After 14 overs, India 149/3: The visitors continue to motor along, if you thought Kohli’s wicket was going to throw a spanner in the works. 10 runs from Phehlukwayo’s over, followed by 11 from Junior Dala’s last over of the day. Dhawan plays an outrageous shot off Dala’s over, as he picks up a slower ball, goes down on one knee, and sweeps (not slog sweep - a regular sweep) over midwicket for four. Another pull through midwicket ensues as he races to 68 off 36 balls.
After 12 overs, India 128/3 - FIFTY FOR SHIKHAR DHAWAN! Well played, Gabbar! This is a thrill-a-minute batting effort. He’s in no mood to take it easy after Kohli’s wicket. The moment Shamsi dropped it short, he pulls it through midwicket. Eventful over for Manish Pandey, who started with a six - just about though, a lofted off drive just clearing long off. And then survives another confident LBW appeal - Shamsi is so sure he has his man, Duminy reviews - it’s umpire’s call.
After 10 overs, India 110/3 - KOHLI GONE: What an over by Shamsi! The Behardien dropped catch doesn’t cost SA too much and Shamsi makes sure he gets his man. This is a regular wrist spinner ball, fired in a little quicker - and it turns from offstump to crash into Kohli’s back pad. Kohli reviews in hope more than anything. It’s all reds - India lose Kohli and the review.
All things said and done, will JP Duminy be happy with that score, given Kohli is back?
After 9 overs , India 106/2 - India reach their 100 in the 9th over, as it is spin from tandem now for South Africa. JJ Smuts is into the attack with his slow left arm. Four singles, and one boundary to midwicket, pulled with power by Dhawan.
After 8 overs, India 98/2 - KOHLI DROPPED: No, no, no Behardien! You can’t drop Kohli if you want to win a game of cricket - especially when he is in this sort of form. Shamsi should be so disappointed - he got the Indian captain mishit one to long on - Behardien puts down a sitter. And of course Kohli makes him pay - a cut shot for four and then the most nonchalant bottom-handed straight drive for six.
After 7 overs, India 84/2: Good over from Morris. A sense of calm after what was a stormy powerplay. Kohli can’t score a run off the first 3 balls, Dhawan finishes the over with a four to make it 6 from it.
After 6 overs, India 78/2 - what a powerplay: Junior Dala continues and he leaks 18 in that over! 4-1-1-6-wide-4. Kohli starts the over off with an imperious powerplay and then Dhawan takes over with a six over fine leg the moment its short and on his hips, and finishes with a four past point.
This is big hitting from India, from the word go - something they don’t do often in T20Is. Seems like a clear ploy to change that, including their decision to promote Raina (albeit it didn’t really work out)
After 5 overs, India 60/2: Morris comes in and concedes 11 off the first over he bowls. To be fair to him, the last two balls that were hit for boundaries, Dhawan didn’t know much about it. One top-edged, one gloved - both roll towards fine leg.
Here’s the moment where there was no real appeal from South Africa again - and Dhawan survives.
After 4 overs, India 49/2 - 12 runs and a wicket, Raina gone: Another eventful over! This is peak T20 cricket. First ball, Dhawan smacks Dala for a six over square leg - nonchalantly flicked over square leg, that travelled a long way. Couple of balls later, there is a short ball down the leg side and Dhawan misses a pull. There is another half appeal, it’s given wide but he has actually knicked it! Raina then hits Dala over third man for four - gave room again. Goes for one shot too many, as the last ball is skied again - Dala himself takes a fine return catch. PHEW.
After 3 overs, India 37/1 - more action: Paterson is being carted around. Off the fourth ball, it’s a Raina special. Gives himself room outside leg and smacks Paterson over midwicket for a six. Trademark shot. Next ball tries something similar, it goes over the fielder at midoff. Too harsh to call it a drop: Raina goes big again, this time tries to clear the offside boundary - it’s just high. Behardien runs back a long way, puts down a tough chance. It trickles to the boundary line for four.
After 2 over, India 24/1 - ROHIT SHARMA GONE! Junior Dala is a happy man. First over in international cricket, gets hit for a four off the 2nd ball but gets the wicket of Rohit off the 5th. It’s an attempted upper cut and the keeper goes up straight away. No appeal from him, keeper & Co convinced - SA review and Rohit has indeed edged it. So much action already! Rohit gone for 21 off 9 balls.
Suresh Raina the new man in...
After 1 over, India 18/0: In the last couple of ODIs, Dhawan took strike with Rohit not in the best of form but since the latter is back among runs, Rohit takes guard and boy has he got going!
0.2: Over third man for six.
0.5: Pulled for six over fine leg.
0.6: Cut over third man for four.
06:00 pm: Alright then, national anthems done. Dhawan and Rohit out in the middle. Dane Patterson to start off.
Well the big news is that there is no AB de Villiers and that’s a big deal especially at The Wanderers. For India, 11.5 crore INR-man Unadkat gets a game after his man-of-the-series showing against Sri Lanka.
5:40 pm: ‘It feels like I am wearing the Indian jersey for the first time,’ Raina said ahead of this match.
Virat Kohli calls wrong, and JP Duminy - the captain for this series - says South Africa will have a bowl first. The numbers back his call. Says there is no AB de Villiers. ‘New series, new opportunities,’ he says. ‘I would have bowled first as well, but this looks like a gun wicket,’ Kohli. Raina gets a game, he confirms.
05:30 pm: Remember this is a day match and here’s some numbers at the Wanderers...
Average score batting in the last 5 T20I matches: 173
Matches won by team batting first: 0
Matches won by team batting second: 5
05:25 pm: It was a double-header at the Bullring today with the women playing ahead of the men. Here’s the match report...
05:20 pm: The question on most Indian fans’ minds: Will we see Suresh Raina back in action tonight? He had a good hit in the nets in the lead up...
05:10 pm: A few minutes back, the first of the two India matches came to a close. Harmanpreet Kaur and co had the chance to seal their 5-match series in the third match, but South Africa wrapped up the run-chase with an over to spare to stay alive in the series. It also gave us a glimpse of the pitch that will be used for this match between Kohli and Duminy’s troops - there should be plenty of runs.
This is how the women’s game unfolded.
5:00 pm: Hello and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the first T20I in the three-match series between Indian and South Africa. The venue is the famous Wanderers in Jo’burg as the final leg of this long Indian tour gets underway.