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JP DUMINY: “Credit to the Indian bowlers for the way they bowled in the batting powerplay. Thought 173 was gettable, the slower balls and knuckle balls really worked for the Indian pacers. It was a great opportunity for some youngsters. All credit to India for an outstanding white ball tour.”
Man of the match, comeback kid - SURESH RAINA: “Thanks to Virat and Ravi bhai. Credit goes to the support staff for giving us all the confidence. Been working really hard on my bowling. What we’ve done in the last one and a half months, no team has done in years.”
Man of the series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, deservingly so: “All thanks to IPL,. It has made an Indian bowler a thinking bowler. One hardly gets these kind of wickets in India and I enjoyed this.”
Captain of the night, Rohit Sharma: “Thought we lost our way a bit at the end. These things happen. The bowlers came and did the job for us. Our top order has been very impressive. Hope games like this can teach us a lot of things. Width is something their batsmen like, but we kept it tight in the batting powerplay. It was a complete bowling performance. Throughout the tour we showed a lot of aggression, intensity. We never backed down.”
01:00 am: Some post-match reaction...
12:55 am: A cumulative score of 8-4 in India’s favour. Two trophies, one famous overseas Test victory in near-unplayable conditions. Fair to say this has been one heck of a tour for Virat Kohli’s team.
END OF THE MATCH: Game, series and the tour belongs to India. Bhuvneshwar does well, as you’d expect, in the final over to give India a seven-run win. This is how the last over panned out.
19.1: Good length, Jonker slaps it to cover point for a single.
19.2: FOUR! Very wide ball, Behardien could have left it but he chases it and gets a four over short third man.
19.3: Full ball, Behardien gets a single to long off. 13 neeeded from 3. Bhuvi is a picture of calm.
19.4: Bhuvi tries to be too clever, slower ball, goes past the tram line, wide given.
19.4: Jonker runs two again after hitting to long on! 10 needed from 2 balls. Can Jonker pull this off?
19.5: FULL FROM BHUVI AND JONKER CAN ONLY GET TWO! SA need 8 from 1 ball. A legal ball from Bhuvi will do it for India.
19.6: OUT! JONKER HITS A LOW FULL TOSS TO ROHIT - INDIA WIN THE SERIES.
After 19 overs, SA 154/5 - JONKER GIVING SA HOPE! 16 runs from that over - thanks to another big six by Jonker over wide long on. He is batting on 44 off 20 balls! WHAT AN INNINGS.
SOUTH AFRICA NEED 19 RUNS FROM THE LAST OVER...
After 18 overs, SA 138/5 - BIG OVER FOR SA: Wow. The oldest cliche in sporting history, eh? It’s not over until it’s over. Jonker goes 6 4 0 4 0 4 in Shardul Thakur’s over! Monster hitting by the debutant. 35 needed from 12 balls, Bumrah comes in.
THIS IS NOT OVER, FOLKS!
After 17 overs, SA 120/5 - need 53 runs off 18 balls: Chris Morris’ ordinary series comes to an end with yet another low score - gets a four through third man off Bumrah but a quick one soon after crashes into the middle stump.
After 16 overs, SA 109/4 - need 64 off 24 balls: Shardul Thakur might have wrapped this up for India. Duminy gets to his fifty with a brilliant cut through cover point for four but the scoreboard pressure has reached a point where he simply had to go after every ball - Thakur gets his man with a knuckle ball off the last over, Rohit takes a good catch. Duminy gone.
Delay in game - 72 needed from 5 overs for SA: Duminy unbeaten on 48. He needs to play the captain’s knock from here on and take his side across the line. Are India heading towards another series win?
After 15 overs SA 101/3 - 72 needed from 30 balls: Raina gets another over, meaning it might just be the one over for Axar tonight. Raina bowls two terrible balls - fast and fired in on Jonker’s pads, put away for fours. 12 runs from that over and it will be over to the pacers now. Duminy takes on Bumrah, clearing his front foot and hitting a six over long on. Good couple of overs of SA, keeping the RRR under check relatively.
After 13 overs, SA 79/3 - KLAASEN GONE! No fireworks for Klaasen tonight. Pandya gets the wicket his spell has thoroughly deserved. It’s fired in full, Klaasen tries to go over mid-off - placed in the ring for that reason - and Bhuvi takes a good high catch. That ball flew at him. 22 runs from Pandya’s 4 overs and a wicket. SA still need another 94 runs from 42 balls.
After 12 overs, SA 74/2 - BIG OVER FOR PROTEAS: They need many more of these. 16 from Axar’s first over that could have started with Klaasen’s wicket if Thakur held on to a catch at long on. Duminy from the other end, expectedly, goes big against Axar - hitting two massive sixes in the midwicket region.
After 11 overs, SA 58/2 - 115 runs required from 54 balls: Good over from Pandya, just five singles and a double in that over. Axar is yet to bowl - perhaps because of the danger of Duminy teeing off - but here comes at a make-or-break stage for SA...
Dhoni on the stump-mic: “Chota mat daal,” “haan yeh daal, bahut badiya!” and more.
After 10 overs, SA 52/2 - Miller time is over: It looked like David Miller might get going after a shaky start as he cleared the fine leg boundary off Pandya for a six. But it was not to be. The Raina ploy works as he gets Miller to play against the spin towards midwicket, Axar takes a simple catch. A poor ball, but Rain don’t care. Duminy gets a boundary in the over as Raina continues to bowl more short balls - but no real damage done.
After 8 overs, SA 38/1: More frustration for South Africa. Pandya joins in on the slower-ball-athon, and his cutters prove to be tough for Miller and Duminy. Raina, perhaps not surprisingly, comes in to bowl - classic page from the Dhoni book of captaincy with two left handers batting - a spinner coming on to bowl.
Miller-Duminy have settled down now and pieced together a handy stand for the second wicket - the ship has been steadied after the early wicket. The runs, though, haven’t come thick and fast so far. The required rate now 11.25.
After 6 overs, SA 25-1 - a great powerplay for Indian bowlers: This has gone exceedingly well for India so far. Having seen what works and what doesn’t for the South African bowlers, the Indian pacers have decided change of pace is the way forward. Duminy almost lobs up another Bhuvi knuckle ball in the 5th over - falls short of cover. Thakur is mixing it up brilliantly as well. Just 7 runs from those two overs combined.
The variations have kept SA in check, who have struggled to get the boundaries in so far. The required rate is now 10.57.
After 4 overs, SA 18/1: Good over by Shardul Thakur despite conceding a boundary early to Miller - who saw a full and wide ball on offer and lofted it to wide long off. Just 6 from that over. Something’s gotta give, one thinks.
After 3 overs, SA 12/1: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s knuckle ball is a thing of beauty. Same action, same delivery stride - but nearly 20 kph slower than Bhuvi’s average. Hendricks goes for a big shot, plays early and skies it to Dhawan at midon - the familiar thigh-slap celebration follows.
After 2 overs, SA 8/0: As has usually been the case in this series, Bumrah starts off with a very tidy over. Good pace to start off, good line - getting a hint of seam movement as well.
After 1 over SA 5/0: Two misfields in that over resulting in two scoring shots. Hendricks square drives on the up to Bhuvi, the ball bounces off the training pitch, and goes over Pandey at point - who should have done better than pushing it away beyond him as it goes for four. Rohit misfields at midoff to allow Hendricks to take a single and retain strike.
Miller, by the way, is the other opener.
Innings break: As we wait to see if Indian men can end the tour by lifting the T20I trophy, the women created history earlier.
End of Indian innings - 172/7 after 20 overs: A weird T20 innings, that. Never really got going, never really lagging behind too much either. In the end, in the balance of things, India have reached what should be the par score - thanks largely to contrasting forties by Raina and Dhawan.
After 19 overs, India 162/5 - DHONI GONE: The wicket of Dhoni but 15 runs for India. Dala gets hit for a boundary off the first ball by Dhoni to fine leg, but the bowler has the last laugh there - the next ball, Dhoni goes high but not very handsome - caught at long off. DK walks in and gets going right away with a couple of boundaries.
After 18 overs, India 147/4: Pandya finally gets going with a big six over long on - Morris’ day goes from bad to worse as he concedes 11.
After 17 overs, India 136/4: Hardik Pandya seems to be waiting to tee off - an odd approach from India in the past couple of overs with plenty of wickets in hand. The final push hasn’t arrived so far. The slower bowlers and slower balls have been difficult to put away and feels like the men in blue have recalibrated their aim for a total here.
After 16 overs, India 130/4 - Dhawan gone! An odd innings that was Shikhar Dhawan - got to 47 off 40 balls without ever looking under control. The innings ends with a bullet direct hit from the deep and Dhawan is caught well short coming back for a second run.
After 15 overs, India 125/3: A couple of wides and a twos means just 8 runs off Phehlukwayo’s over. Been an odd innings from India so far - they have not looked too much in control, except for Raina perhaps, but they are heading towards 160-170 which seems like a par score.
After 14 overs, India 117/3 - Pandey gone: No runs from Pandey’s bat tonight. Dala comes back into the attack and surprises Pandey with his pace. A short ball, a short-arm jab finds the leading edge and goes to long on.
Pandya gets a promotion today... meanwhile Dhawan moves on to 45 off 38 balls.
After 13 overs, India 111/2 - another life for Dhawan: Oh dear, Shamsi would be hoping this innings quickly and he can get away from the public eye. A frustrated Dhawan hits one high in the air and Shamsi puts down the skier at short fine leg. Phangiso is the unlucky bowler. Dhawan smacks his third boundary in six balls after that.
After 12 overs, India 102/2 - Dhawan finally finds the boundary, HUZZAH! It’s taken him till the 12th over (surely a record of some sorts for an opener) as he cracks two fours off Shamsi - the man who dropped him not too long back. Pandey gets a six off the first ball of that over as well.
After 10 overs, India 81/2 - Raina gone: A well made 27-ball 43 for Raina! It looked like another good shot this one - taking on a full ball from Shamsi, hits it nice and straight but gets more height than distance - Behardien doesn’t mess this one up - takes a good catch at long on.
After 8 overs, India 65/1: Quiet overs with spin from both ends. Raina-Dhawan have now added 51 runs for the second wicket. Raina has contributed with 34 of those. Dhawan has been having a bit of a struggle all evening so far - yet to hit a boundary so far! Comes down the track against JPD and gets an inside edge that just about saves him.
After 6 overs, India 57/1 - End of the powerplay: Morris left shaking his head. Shamsi drops yet another catch in this series. Not for the first time he makes Gavaskar goes on a rant about South Africa’s fielding (catching, actually) on this tour. Raina scores another boundary in that over - squeezing a full, wide ball past point. Great placement.
After 5 overs, India 47/1: The 4th over from Dala is another good one as he concedes just 5 singles. But Raina takes on Phehlukwayo in the 5th over - making the most of the field restrictions. Down the track and slapped over midoff, followed by an elegant cover drive - two fours. Raina, Dhawan are scoring briskly. Clearly unfazed by Rohit’s exit. The SA bowlers are not getting their line right for now and the batsmen are making merry with some expansive shots.
After 3 overs, India 30/1: A solid start for India nevertheless this as Rohit’s tour comes to a predictably disappointing end. JP Duminy comes on to bowl in the third over and Raina greets him with a punch through cover for four.
After 2 overs, India 22/1 - ROHIT GONE: Action replay of many a Rohit Sharma dismissal on this tour - Dala has been a revelation of sorts in this T20I series. Lands one on the offstump and at good pace, Rohit is rushed into it, and the bat comes down late. Plumb in front - not even going for a review. 9 runs from the over still - as Raina starts off with a most Raina-esque whip off the pads for a six.
After 1 over, India 13/0: “A very ordinary over I am afraid,” says Mike Haysman on air. Not an auspicious start for Morris as he bowls a massive no ball first up. The free hit doesn’t prove costly but Rohit finishes the over off with back-to-back fours - a straight drive followed by a leg glance. Morris struggled with his length in that over - unlike the maiden he bowled in the previous match first up.
09:30 PM: Alright then, all set for the final match. Chris Morris with the ball, Rohit and Dhawan out in the middle...
09:25 pm: The second match saw Manish Pandey come into his own, alongside MS Dhoni but Klaasen outclassed Indian bowlers... here are talking points as we have the national anthems for one last time from South Africa.
09:15 pm: Obviously the biggest talking point is Kohli’s unavailability, but at the end of the long tour it was understandable if the team didn’t want to take chances. This also means that Pandya is the only cricketer to play all 12 matches on the tour.
09:05 pm: Well, well. That’s a bit of a downer for all the fans who would have come out to watch him bat... and there are more changes as well with India playing without a wrist spinner for the first time.
09:00 pm: JP Duminy and Virat Kohli walk.... oh wait. It’s not Kohli - it’s Rohit Sharma out in the middle for the toss! Wowzers. Anyway, Duminy wins the toss - opts to bowl first.
08:55 pm: So here we are... the final match of this long tour. Minutes away from the toss.
Meanwhile, if you missed it, the women in blue created history too - here’s how that happened.
08:45 pm: The Test series was decided by the second match with India winning a consolation game at the Wanderers. The ODI series was a walk in the park for Virat Kohli’s men. But the T20Is, the format where the gaps between the two teams has unsurprisingly been the most minimal, have seen a closer battle.
After India’s 28-run win at the Wanderers, South Africa bounced back with a comfortable six-wicket at Centurion - and after 11 matches, with the overall score 7-4 in favour of India, we will have the chance to witness which of these two teams can deliver when it’s a must-win for both sides.