India lift maiden T20I Series at home against South Africa as batters reign supreme
With no hint of rain at the Barsapara Stadium last night, the concourse still managed to get drenched to the bone, submerged neck-deep in high-flying entertainment where both the oppositions went ballistic, resorting to the aerial route way more frequently than just one of your average days. From cricketing hailstones to an aggregate of 458 runs, the bowlers last night were mere spectators in a narrative that was solely penned for the batters.
As the fate of the series dangled in the balance and with a feat that was still to be braved by India, despite 16 years of prolonged rivalry in the shortest format of the game, Temba Bavuma won the toss and opted to bat first as the demons on the surface that played host to the curtain-raiser of the series seems to have left a lasting impact on the visiting captain’s mind.
India went for the kill right from the word go and KL Rahul was taking the brutal South African pace head-on. From regal drives to colossal launches, the LSG skipper bared down his entire arsenal and the fans were in for a treat. He would consider himself a bit fortunate at the start of the innings where Parnell almost compelled him to play onto his own stumps, but then on days like these, anything except the batters in the field are mere mannequins barring the interrupting snake and a dwindling floodlight.
The Indian opening duo was off to a phenomenal start and the kind of carnage that they stitched together was more than enough to throw the Proteas off their scent as the latter struggled to find the bare minimum momentum of their own. It took them almost half of the innings to carve the opening breakthrough as a wild slash from Rohit Sharma would eventually land in the safe hands of Tristan Stubbs, pulling the curtain down on a well-constructed 43. KL Rahul couldn’t sustain his belligerence much longer either as his effort to sweep Maharaj cost him his scalp.
With two new batters in the middle, the visitors had all hopes of reeling India back in and the first couple of overs faced by the newcomers seemed pretty promising for South Africa. That, however, was the last time that the bowlers would catch their breath as Suryakumar Yadav went for an all-out attack while Kohli was not going to just drop an anchor at the other end. It was double trouble for the visitors as the partnership of Kohli and Surya gave now respite to the visitors.
Yadav hammered an explosive 61 off just 22 balls where he brought up his half-century in the 18th delivery of his innings that made him the third-fastest Indian half-centurion in the shortest format of the game. He also became the third-fastest player to reach 1000 runs in T20I cricket for the Men in Blue, racking up this impressive feat from just 31 innings.
With such sizzling entrees and main courses treating the Barsapara Stadium, the luxury of desserts came in the form of Dinesh Karthik, who blazed an unbeaten 17 from just 6 balls, propelling the Men in Blue to a staggering 237 for the loss of 3 from their quota of 20 overs.
The Indian bowlers were off to a bright start as Arshdeep Singh produced gold again, thanks to a couple of early wickets in his very opening over. Temba Bavuma couldn’t comprehend the pace and lofted it straight into the hands of Kohli while Rilee Rossouw’s frenetic swing of the bat skied the resulting effort that would eventually be pouched by Dinesh Karthik after a couple of nervy juggles.
Aiden Markram seemed in decent touch and took on the onus of rebuilding the innings and was successful to a certain extent but Axar Patel’s tryst with the timbre continued as another skitter rattled past a restless Markram and clattered onto his middle stump to shake the South African chase way off its actual path.
Despite teetering at 47 for the loss of 3 in the 7th over, the visitors rallied their troops through an imposing David Miller who regained his IPL form to put up a blitzkrieg, a knock that for a moment instilled fears in the heart of the Indians.
De Kock played the defender of one end while Miller blazed ‘Nox, Mark, Draw, Loose’ at the other. The Indian bowlers could do very little while the fielders on the boundary were mere spectators of Miller’s first-hand carnage. With so much chaotic belligerence from South Africa, Team India played to their numbers and with 237 on the board, no matter how aggressive the visitors seemed to be, they eventually fell short in the end as India scripted a 16-run win to lift their maiden T20I series against South Africa at home.
With one contest of the fray still remaining, India could most likely bring in a few changes to figure out possible back-ups that can be utilized in the upcoming T20 World Cup where they will have to deliver relentless displays of brilliance to conjure any hope of replicating their success in 2007.