Cuttack, Oct 5 (IANS) South African bowlers produced a superb show as India were bowled out for a mealsy 92 in 17.2 overs during their second Twenty20 International at the Barabati Stadium here on Monday.
The South African bowlers, who had copped a lot of punishment in the first T20 at Dharamshala and the warm-up match against India A at New Delhi before that, produced a much improved performance on the day. The visitors backed up the creditable performance from the bowlers with some excellent efforts in the field to keep the Indian bastmen on a tight leash.
The Indian batsmen were unable to come to grips with the Proteas bowling attack on a pitch which offered plenty of lateral movement. They did not help their cause by some poor running between the wickets which led to the run-outs of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
For South Africa, experienced all-rounder Albie Morkel came up with a superb display of pace bowling to take three wickets, while leg-spinner Imran Tahir and pacer Chris Morris picked up two each.
Morkel, who came on as the first change bowler after opening bowlers Morris and Kasigo Rabada had pegged back the hosts with some early wickets, returned figures of 3/12 from his four overs.
Suresh Raina (22) and Rohit Sharma (22) emerged as the joint top-scorers for the hosts.
The Indians lost wickets as regular intervals and were unable to provide any sustained momentum to the innings. They were off to a poor start as Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli departed early.
Dhawan was trapped leg before by a full length delivery from Morris. The pacer played a role in Kohli’s dismissal as well as his accurate throw from deep midwicket caught the Indian vice-captain short of the crease while attenpting a second run.
After Rabada had outfoxed Ambati Rayudu with an in-swinging full toss in the very next over, Raina and Dhoni set about trying to rescue the innings.
But the pressure of ressurecting the sagging run rate ultimately got to them. Morkel sent back the dangerous Dhoni when the Indian skipper’s miscued attempted to steer one down to third man saw him edge to ball to South African wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Raina joined his captain in the dressing room a short while later when he virtually gifted his wicket to leg-spinner Imran Tahir. The left-hander tried to drive Tahir to the long off fence but his mistimed shot went straight into the hands of Hashim Amla.
Tahir dismissed Harbhajan Singh with his very next ball with one that turned sharply after pitching before hitting the stumps. Morkel then dismissed Axar Patel and Bhubaneshwar Kumar in the 16th over before Chris Moris sent Ravichandran Ashwin’s bails flying with an incoming delivery to bring the curtains down on the Indian innings.