Brilliant half-centuries from Aiden Markram and David Miller helped South Africa overcome early hiccups and defeat India by five wickets in their Group 2, Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup on Sunday.
With this win, South Africa is at top of the table with five points and two wins in three matches. India is in the second position with four points and two wins in three. Suryakumar Yadav (68) was India's only star in batting. Though India had SA down at 24/3, Miller (59*) and Markram (52) powered them to victory with two balls to spare.
Chasing 134, South Africa was off to a bad start as they lost in-form batters Quinton de Kock (1) and Rilee Rossouw (0) to pacer Arshdeep Singh. The bowler was breathing fire in his first over and dismissed them both within the first three balls. Proteas were reduced to 3/2.
After this, Arshdeep joined forces with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The youngster and veteran continued building immense pressure on out-of-form skipper Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram, not really letting them open their arms loose.
Building up pressure paid off for Men in Blue as Bavuma was dismissed by Mohammad Shami, after being caught behind by wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik for 10 off 15 balls. Proteas were 24/3 in 5.4 overs.
At the end of the powerplay in six overs, South Africa was at 24/3, with David Miller (0*) joining Markram (12*).
At the end of 10 overs, South Africa was at 40/3, with Markram (23*) and Miller (5*) at the crease. They needed 94 in the last 10 overs.
The second half started on a good note for Proteas as both batters hit Hardik Pandya for 16 runs in the 11th over, including three fours. SA crossed the 50-run mark in 11.4 overs.
In the next over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin, India missed a chance to break the partnership between Markram and Miller as Kohli dropped Markram at deep midwicket.
Markram and Miller brought up their 50-run stand in 45 balls. The 14th over by Ashwin was expensive as 17 runs came off it, bringing Proteas into a strong position.
Arshdeep was brought back into the attack in the 15th over. But by then, Markram was unstoppable. He brought up his ninth T20I half-century in 38 balls.
At the end of 15 overs, SA was at 95/3, with Markram (50*) and Miller (28*) at the crease. 55 runs were scored in five overs and Proteas needed 39 in the last five overs.
Dinesh Karthik sustained an injury and Rishabh Pant was brought in as his substitute keeper.
SA brought up their 100 in 15.3 overs. Hardik broke the 76-run stand between Markram-Miller after Markram was caught by Suryakumar Yadav for 52 off 41 balls at deep-midwicket. Proteas were 100/4. Tristan Stubbs was the next one on the crease.
India took a gamble by bringing Ashwin for the 18th over, who had struggled to get going all this while. Miller welcomed him with two consecutive sixes, reducing the equation to 13 off 16 balls.
However, it was Ashwin who had the last laugh as Stubbs was trapped lbw for six. Half of Proteas batting line up was back in the hut for 122 runs and Ashwin finally had a wicket.
Wayne Parnell joined Miller. The deficit was cut down to 12 off 12 balls, with Ashwin making a solid comeback after being hit for two sixes.
Shami was brought to bowl the 19th over. He was brilliant so far but it was a major test for him. He was hit for a four on his first ball and Miller brought up his sixth fifty in 41 balls. With six runs in his over, India needed to defend six in the final over, with danger man Miller still at the crease.
Bhuvneshwar was brought to bowl the last over. South Africa levelled the scores on the third ball of the innings. It finished the innings at 137/5 in 19.4 overs, with Miller (59*) and Parnell (2*).
Arshdeep Singh finished as the top bowler for India, taking 2/29. Pandya, Shami and Ashwin got a wicket each.
The equation was now down to 32 runs in the final four overs. Arshdeep ended his four-over spell with 2/29 and Proteas needed 25 off 18 balls.
Earlier, South African pacers spit fire with the ball to restrict India to a score of 133/9, despite Suryakumar Yadav's brilliance with the bat on Sunday at Perth in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
The Proteas pacers danced to the beats of Suryakumar Yadav's drum as he put on a show with the bat to help India reach a sub-par total at the pacy Perth pitch, after India's horrendous start to their batting inning.
Opting to bat first, India started watchfully with KL Rahul playing a maiden to Wayne Parnell in the first over. The Indian captain opened India's and his account with a massive six of Kagiso Rababda in the second over. KL Rahul also took a leaf out of Rohit Sharma's book and smashed a six in the third over to open his account.
Rohit continued to attack as he smashed a four in the square leg region of Lungi Ngidi but the pacer had the last laugh after he dismissed the Indian captain with a short delivery for 15(14).
The Indian team suffered a mini batting collapse after this with the Protea pacers firing on all cylinders. Ngidi got rid of Rahul in the same over, dismissing him for 9(14). Rahul's stint of low scores continued as he was dismissed for the third time inside the powerplay at the T20 World Cup 2022.
India recorded another low score in the powerplay at the World Cup, as they ended with 33/2, having previously scored 32/1 against Netherlands and 31/3 with Pakistan.
Virat Kohli seemed set for a big score once again as he played two picturesque shots of Ngidi to get things going for him. However, the lanky pacer got the better of him. He bowled a pacy bouncer to dismiss the man in form for 12(11).
Axar Patel's replacement, Deepak Hooda failed to make use of his opportunity and got out to Anrich Nortje for a duck in the eight over.
Hardik Pandya failed to repeat his Pakistan match heroics as he became the fourth wicket for Ngidi. Rabada grabbed a superb catch at fine leg to get rid of Pandya for 2(3).
Suryakumar Yadav was unfazed by the wickets falling around him and lofted Nortje for a beautiful six in the 10th over, refusing to pull his foot off the pedal. India was 60/5 at the end of the 10 overs, with Suryakumar and Dinesh Karthik at the crease.
The batting duo batted sensibly and resurrected India's inning with an important sixth-wicket batting partnership. Karthik took on the role of playing the second fiddle while Suryakumar kept playing his shots, helping India gain some much-needed momentum in the game.
Keshav Maharaj was taken to the cleaners by Suryakumar as he smashed a boundary and a six in his two-over spell. The explosive batter struck a beautiful on-drive to bring up his fifty in the 15th over off just 30 balls.
Just when India looked set to attack the South African pacers in the last five overs, Parnell came back to get rid of Karthik to end the 52-run sixth-wicket partnership. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored just 6 off 15 balls.
Ravichandran Ashwin walked to the crease to join the batter in pursuit to take India to a challenging total but the spinner scored just 7(11).
Suryakumar played attacking shots despite the wickets falling around him and took India beyond the 120-run mark however, the batter could not carry his bat through the innings and was dismissed by Parnell in the 19th over for a brilliant 68 off 40 balls.
India could not add much to their tally after the batter's dismissal and ended with 133/9 after 20 overs.
Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers dismissing four Indian batters while Parnell bagged three wickets.
Brief Score: India: 133/9 (Suryakumar Yadav 68, Rohit Sharma 15; Lungi Ngidi 4/29) lost to South Africa: 137/5 in 19.4 overs (David Miller 59*, Aiden Markram 52, Arshdeep Singh 2/29).
(With inputs from ANI)