India vs South Africa 1st T20I: South Africa had their highest successful chase in T20I cricket, and despite being lighter in the series opener, denied India their 13th consecutive T20I win. David Miller and Rasie van der Dussen’s unbeaten half-centuries, who shared a 131-run fourth-wicket partnership, set a record for South Africa, on an impressive powerplay that led Dwayne Pretorius to a surprise move to be promoted to No. been picked up. And gave South Africa victory with five balls to spare.
On a pitch that India’s top scorer Ishan Kishan described as “not easy”, the run-scoring was quicker than expected and boundaries in over-supply. India hit 16 fours and 14 sixes; 17 fours and 14 sixes in South Africa.
India would have guessed their chances after using some early luck to post their highest score against South Africa – 211 for 4 – and the highest T20I total at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. His batsmen were particularly serious against the two South African spinners. Keshav Maharaj, who opened the bowling, and Tabrez Shamsi bowled a total of five overs and conceded 70 runs between them, with Maharaj finishing with his most expensive T20I figures of 1 for 43.
But in reply, South Africa played the powerplay to perfection and scored 61 runs in the first six overs. They lost Captain Temba Bavuma and Pretorius but the latter’s cameo set up the middle order to finish. Although van der Dussen’s start was quite attentive, and the required run-rate exceeded 14 at stage one, Miller kept South Africa in the hunt in the first half of the partnership. The pair faced Indian pacers in the end, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel conceding 86 runs in their 8 overs.
India vs South Africa 1st T20I:
Kishan turns uncertain start into cracking finish
Kishan hit three of his first four fours the wrong way and played the wrong line for almost everything as India appeared to be struggling despite the runs on the board. His opening partner Ruturaj Gaikwad was also not clearing the ball completely. He topped Enrique Nortje at short fine leg, but things changed after India were bundled out for 36 in five overs and Wayne Parnell avoided the first properly disciplined over.
Kishan showed his touch when he patted Nortje behind third man and then drives through covers to end the Powerplay 51 with India without loss. He didn’t stop there. He hit the short ball, proceeded down the track to hit Shamsi six three times, and then belted Maharaj through the leg-side for 20 off four balls before successfully reviewing the LBW call.
South Africa made four mistakes, and two of them were costly. The first came soon after the powerplay when Gaikwad pulled a hip-high short ball from Parnell to Pretorius at long leg. He hit it hard, but straight at Pretorius, who couldn’t catch the ball with his hands to hit a six. Gaikwad was out on the next ball.
Then, three balls from the halfway point, Maharaj shortened his length as he saw Shreyas Iyer coming down the track and Quinton de Kock had the opportunity to stump him, but could not break the wicket in time. Iyer was on 25 and scored 36 runs.
And then in three balls, Kishan did a slog-sweep at midwicket where Maharaj, van der Dussen, debutant Tristan Stubbs and Shamsi all converged, but the ball fell between them. Kishan was on 52 and added 24 more to his score, most of which were held by Maharaj. On the very next ball, Rishabh Pant was run out for a duck at the non-striker’s end when he wanted to take a run but was hit by Rabada. Stubbs threw the ball over the fielder back-up at that end. Pant scored 29 runs in 16 balls.
India vs South Africa 1st T20I:
In a surprise move, South Africa opted to take Pretorius to No 3 instead of Miller or Stubbs when Bavuma was dismissed in the third over, but a little digging revealed what looked like madness. Pretorius has batted at number ten last in his T20 career, and once in internationals, when he scored his career-best 77*. He punched the second ball through cover for four, and smashed the fifth to suggest what he could do and then hit three sixes off Hardik Pandya to confirm it. Pretorius swung hard and bowled short, full and length to the leg-side before Harshal broke his defense with a slow delivery and got off the stumps.
De Kock dismissed and pressure builds
De Kock dismissed Kishan to Axar Patel at square leg, exceeding South Africa’s required rate of 11 per over, and then India applied the squeeze. Between Axar, Avesh Khan and Harshal, he bowled 18 boundary-less deliveries, raising South Africa’s required rate of 14 per over.
Van der Dussen shifts gears
It was expected that Miller would be the batsman to keep South Africa in the game – given his impressive IPL – and he did exactly that. He broke the boundary drought by scoring 10 runs in the last two balls of Harshal’s second over and then hit Axar for a six in the third tier of the stand.
But van der Dussen, who was often criticized for his slow scoring rate, could not get the ball away regularly until he broke the toe of his bat and had to substitute it for another. With the new bat, he hits Avesh over the head on a no-ball and then sends it straight to deep midwicket, but Shreyas gives an easy chance. Van der Dussen was on 29 off 30 balls at the time and conceded 22 runs in Herschel’s third over, which included sending two full-tosses for a six and bringing up a half-century off the 39th ball, in which he hit a six at deep square leg. He scored 34 in the last three overs and then 12 in the last two before escaping a LBW review to score the winning run off the first ball of the final over.