SA V IND, 2nd ODI: Malan, de Kock half-centuries lead South Africa to series win (ld)

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Half-centuries by Janneman Malan (91 off 108) and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (78 off 66) helped South Africa defeat India by seven wickets in the second ODI at Boland Park on Friday. The win also means South Africa go 2-0 up and clinch the ODI series with the final match at Cape Town on Sunday still to be played.

After Rishabh Pant produced a career-best act of 85 off just 71 balls while skipper KL Rahul contributed 55 and Shardul Thakur unbeaten 40 to take India to 287/6, South Africa chased down the total with 11 balls to spare, the highest successful chase at the Boland Park, as India were short of wicket-taking options and looked flat on the field.

Chasing 288 on a scorching day, South Africa were off to a scintillating start, collecting 66 runs in power-play. De Kock blazed to 46 runs off just 32 balls, going brutal on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, taking him for two boundaries and a six. De Kock then smashed Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin for boundaries before he survived a stumping attempt by Pant.

To rub salt into wounds, de Kock swept Ashwin over deep backward square leg for a huge six before Malan reverse-swept the off-spinner for a boundary. Things started to look ominous for India as they lost a review on an lbw decision against Malan and the openers brought up the 100 of their stand with de Kock easily pulling Kumar over deep mid-wicket and then sweeping Shardul Thakur over deep backward square leg.

Malan reached his fifty and on the very next ball, Thakur broke the 132-run partnership. De Kock missed a flick and was hit on pads by a full toss swinging in late. A confident India took the review and got to change the decision as replays showed the ball hitting the stumps.

Post de Kock’s fall, Malan took centre stage with a rollicking six over deep mid-wicket off Ashwin. With Temba Bavuma looking crisp, Malan brought out delightful short-arm jabs and reverse sweeps to keep South Africa in full control of the chase. Thakur came under smashing in the 33rd over as Malan drove him through cover before Bavuma pulled over mid-wicket and glanced through fine leg as 14 runs came off it.

The 80-run stand for the second wicket was broken by Bumrah, whose length ball on the middle stump beat the inner edge and hit the stumps after brushin’ past Malan’s right elbow, dismissing the right-hander nine runs short of his hundred. In the next over, Bavuma tried to flick but the leading edge popped back to Chahal.

Rassie van der Dussen took two boundaries off Ashwin in the 39th over, while Aiden Markram took back-to-back boundaries off Kumar through cover and deep square leg in the 44th over to bring up fifty of the partnership for the fourth wicket. Markram and van der Dussen knocked off the remaining runs to seal a series win for South Africa and extend their winning run on the tour to four matches across formats.

Earlier, Pant and Rahul’s 115-run partnership off 111 balls made one feel like India would go past 300 runs. But South Africa, despite four dropped catches, struck hard as India slipped from 179/2 to 207/5. Tabraiz Shamsi was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, taking 2/57 while Markram and Keshav Maharaj supported well with 1/34 and 1/52 respectively.

Joining forces at 63/2 and after surviving a terrible miscommunication almost resulting in a run-out of Rahul, Pant broke the shackles with a huge slog-sweep off Maharaj for six followed by Rahul attacking Maharaj and Markram for a boundary each. Pant began to take centre stage in the counter-attack, collecting boundaries regularly off Maharaj and Markram.

With Rahul dropping anchor, Pant continued his controlled aggression, welcoming Shamsi by sweeping him twice followed by a late cut. Pant soon reached his fifty and continued to smash boundaries for fun. South Africa’s woeful time on the field continued as Rahul, once given a reprieve at 8, was dropped on 46 by Markram.

Pant continued to hit Shamsi for runs, including a one-handed six down the ground after a whip past mid-on. With Rahul reaching his fifty and Pant going strong, India had got a great platform to accelerate. But the 115-run partnership for the third wicket was ended by Magala, as Rahul flicked to short mid-wicket, departing for 55.

In the very next over, Pant danced down the pitch to loft off Shamsi but holed out to lo’g-on. Following the duo’s dismissals, India was unable to get the momentum back. Shreyas Iyer was given not out on an lbw appeal off Shamsi. But the bowler got to change the decision as replays showed the ball crashing into stumps. Venkatesh Iyer was dropped by van der Dussen at cover but couldn’t make the most of it as de Kock effected a very sharp stumping when the left-hander’s back-foot was up in the air.

Thakur continued to take boundaries off Andile Phehlukwayo before giving the same treatment to Shamsi and Maharaj. Ashwin joined the party by sweeping Maharaj over deep mid-wicket before finishing the innings with a boundary crunched over extra cover off Magala as the unbeaten 48-run stand lifted India to a 280-plus score.

Earlier, India blazed to 57/0 in the first ten overs. Shikhar Dhawan was strong in flicking and driving off pacers. Despite being circumspect, Rahul got two boundaries through off-side. After power-play, Dhawan was the first to depart, slog-sweeping straight to Magala at deep mid-wicket as Markram broke the opening partnership.

Maharaj troubled Virat Kohli with turn and bounce twice before getting the right-hander to drive on the up to extra cover, dismissing him for a five-ball duck. Pant and Rahul combined for a resurrection act but that went in vain as South Africa made a tricky target look like a stroll in the park.

Brief scores: India 287/6 in 50 overs (Rishabh Pant 85, KL Rahul 55; Tabraiz Shamsi 2/57, Aiden Markram 1/34) lost to South Africa 288/3 in 48.1 overs (Janneman Malan 91, Quinton de Kock 78; Jasprit Bumrah 1/37, Yuzvendra Chahal 1/47) by seven wickets

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