South Africa crush India, clinch T20 series (Roundup)

Cuttack, Oct 5 (IANS) South Africa backed up their fierce bowling performance with the willow to inflict a crushing defeat on India by six wickets in the second Twenty20 International at the Barabati Stadium here on Monday.

With the win, South Africa have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, the last of which will be played at the Eden Gardens on October 8.

Chasing India’s total of 92, South Africa crossed the line with six wickets in hand.

J.P. Duminy top-scored with an unbeaten knock of 30 for the tourists, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for India returned figures of 3/24.

After an expensive first over which yielded nine runs, the Indians struck in the second as Ashwin sent back Hashim Amla (2) who flicked one to Rohit Sharma at leg-slip.

Skipper Faf du Plesis and A.B. de Villiers then came together for a partnership of 25 runs and helped in steadying the innings.

But then du Plesis (16) tried to hit Ashwin over the top but managed to only chip it to mid-on where Mohit Sharma took a brilliant catch running back.

The run-rate went down a bit but the South Africans still managed to get the ones and twos away.

At 49/2, Ashwin once again came to the party as he clean bowled de Villiers foxing him with a drifter. At the halfway stage, the Proteas were 57/3.

The match was interrupted for some time after the 11th over as the vociferous crowd at the Barabati started throwing bottles as missiles on the ground.

When play resumed, the visitors needed just 29 runs with 66 deliveries in hand but after two overs at 70/3, missiles were hurled at the ground again and the umpires had to send the players inside the dressing room.

After the restart, left arm spinner Axar Patel fired in a straighter one to trap Farhaan Behardien (11) in front of the stumps.

David Miller (not out 10) came out next to finish the job as South Africa sailed home with six wickets in hand.

Earlier in the day, 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 for 12, while leg-spinner Imran Tahir and pacer Chris Morris picked up two each.

Suresh Raina (22) and Rohit Sharma (22) emerged as the joint top-scorers for the hosts.

The Indians lost wickets at 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 attempting a second run.

After Rabada 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 resurrecting 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 the ball to South African wicketkeeper de Villiers.

Raina joined his captain in the dressing room a short while later when he virtually gifted his wicket to leg-spinner 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.

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