Rassie van der Dussen (75 not out) and David Miller (64 not out) stitched an unbeaten 131-run stand to take South Africa to a seven-wicket win over India in the series opener at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.
After Ishan Kishan’s 76 and finishing touches from captain Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya powered India to 211/4, South Africa were in trouble at 81/3 in 8.4 overs, despite a whirlwind Dwaine Pretorius cameo in power-play.
That’s when Miller and van der Dussen joined forces to forge an unbroken stand, enough for the visitors to record their highest chase in T20Is and put an end to India’s 12-match winning streak in the format. The seven-wicket win also means that South Africa are now 1-0 up in the five-match series.
The pursuit of 212 began with captain Temba Bavuma nicking behind a Bhuvneshwar Kumar leg-cutter to Pant. South Africa’s gamble to send Pretorius at three worked well ashe punched Bhuvneshwar crisply through cover and slog-swept Yuzvendra Chahal for a huge six over cow corner.
Pretorius then muscled Pandya for three sixes in the leg-side as South Africa soared to 60/1 in just five overs. Harshal Patel brought Pretorius’ cameo to an end in final over of power-play with a dipping full toss crashing into off-stump.
Quinton de Kock never got going in his innings of 22 and swept straight to long-leg off Axar Patel, leaving the Proteas at 81/3 in 8.4 overs. But Miller’s introduction quickened South Africa’s scoring pace, slicing Harshal square through the off-side for four, followed by flicking nonchalantly over deep square leg for six.
Miller then creamed Axar for a four through cover and dispatched left-arm spinner for sixes over long-off and mid-wicket to take 19 runs off the 13th over. He then dished out boundaries against Bhuvneshwar, pulling between deep mid-wicket and long-on for four before lofting effortlessly over long-off for six before reaching his fifty in 22 balls.
van der Dussen, dropped on 29 by Shreyas Iyer, shed his cautious self by slamming Harshal for back-to-back sixes over long-on and backward square leg before pulling an outside the off-stump delivery through mid-wicket for four. He then brought up his fifty in 37 balls with a flat pulled six over deep mid-wicket in an over which yielded 22 runs.
Miller brought up the century of his fourth wicket association with van der Dussen with a clean heaved six over deep mid-wicket off Bhuvneshwar. Van der Dussen then slog-swept him high over deep mid-wicket for six and amassed back-to-back fours through square of the wicket on the off-side to take South Africa closer to victory.
The duo knocked off the remaining 12 runs easily, with van der Dussen finishing off the chase, reverse sweeping Chahal for four to open their series with a win.
Earlier, India amassed 51 runs from power-play, which was a mix of luck being on their side and some scintillating shots from Kishan as well as Ruturaj Gaikwad. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were able to beat the edge of the bat with some away-shape and bounce on back of the length balls. But India pushed forward with Kishan and Gaikwad bringing up the side’s fifty in power-play.
Post powerplay, Gaikwad fell when he lobbed a pull to mid-off off Parnell. Kishan, though, continued to accelerate with boundaries – a punch through the off-side was followed by a ferocious drive past Dwaine Pretorius. Shreyas Iyer began by dealing in sixes, coming down the pitch and depositing Tabraiz Shamsi over long-on thrice. He got a life on 25 when de Kock missed his stumping off Maharaj.
Kishan brought up his fifty in 37 balls by dragging Maharaj for a mighty slog-sweep over mid-wicket for six. He further tore into Maharaj in the 13th over, depositing back-to-back sixes with slog sweep and pull over mid-wicket fence twice. He went on hit successive boundaries, lofting over the bowler’s head and smashing a flat hit along the ground. But Maharaj had the last laugh as Kishan holed out to long-on.
From being 28 off 15 balls, Iyer endured a slowdown before being bowled by an off-cutter from Pretorius for 36 off 27 balls. Pant, who got great applause from the home crowd, began by straight-lofting Parnell for four. He then unleashed carnage on Pretorius in the 17th over, heaving over his head for a six followed by evading diving long-on for another six and closing the over with slice over cover for four.
Pandya, his deputy, whipped Parnell for four over mid-wicket and followed it up with a short-arm jab over long-on for six. Rabada came under thrashing from Pandya in the 19th over, when the right-hander lofted over long-on for six and squeezed a yorker past short fine leg to bring up India’s 200, not enough to avoid defeat for Pant in his debut match as a captain in his hometown.
Brief Scores: India 211/4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 76, Shreyas Iyer 36; Wayne Parnell 1/32, Dwaine Pretorius 1/35) lost to South Africa 212/3 in 19.1 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 75 not out, David Miller 64 not out; Axar Patel 1/40, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/43) by seven wickets