Heinrich Klaasen, who was brought into the South African XI as an injury replacement for Quinton de Kock, anchored South Africa’s chase of 149, with a career-best 81, to give them a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. On a pitch that was challenging to most batters, Klaasen batted as though it was a different surface. He took on the Indian spinners and turned what started as a tough chase into a doddle at the end.
South Africa were in early trouble thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who found swing and took three wickets in the Powerplay to leave them strug-gling on 29 for 3 – their second-lowest powerplay score against India. In the process, Bhuvneshwar became India’s third-highest T20I wicket-taker, four behind Jasprit Bumrah and six adrift of Yuzvendra Chahal. He returned to bowl a fourth over, and claim a fourth wicket, but with the result all but sealed in South Africa’s favour.
South Africa’s fourth-wicket pair of Temba Ba-vuma and Klaasen took the chase by the scruff of the neck and scored 64 runs in 41 balls between them. Klaasen was the more attacking of the two and continued in that vein when Bavuma was dismissed, eclipsing David Miller at the end.
None of India’s batters could push on in that fashion. Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer made 34 and 40 respectively but India’s middle order was squeezed by a disciplined and crafty South African attack. Bavuma used all four seam options for their full quota of overs, with the spinners only bowing two overs each. The quicks relied on taking their pace off, like Wayne Parnell and Dwaine Pretorius, or firing in short balls with extra gas, like Anrich Nortje.
It was not until Dinesh Karthik and Harshal Patel came together for the seventh wicket that India ap-plied some pressure on South Africa’s attack. They put on 36 runs in three overs to push India’s total over 140 but not beyond it being their third lowest in T20Is against South Africa at home.
After using left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj to open the bowling in Delhi, Bavuma held back the slower bowlers until the ninth over in Cuttack. Tabraiz Shamsi started well but Shreyas Iyer took him on in the last two balls of his opening over, which went for 10, before Rishabh Pant tried to do the same against Maharaj.
Pant stepped down the track to Maharaj’s first ball, which he delivered wide of off stump (so wide it would have been called such if Pant didn’t hit it), and gave himself space to carve it over point. But Pant had given himself too much room and ended up slicing the ball to Rassie van der Dussen on the deep-point boundary.—AP