Thiruvananthapuram: Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul scored half centuries as the hosts chased down 107 on a difficult pitch to take a 1-0 lead against South Africa in the three-match series.
Earlier, Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar made merry on a green pitch with deadly swing bowling to reduce South Africa to 9/5 in 2.3 overs, before Keshav Maharaj played a fighting knock of 41 to take South Africa to a below-par 106/8 against India in the T20I series opener at the Greenfield International Stadium.
Arshdeep (3/32) and Chahar (2/24) justified Rohit Sharma’s call to bowl first as they scythed through South Africa’s top-order in picking five wickets on the first 15 balls of the innings. With movement in the air for the left-right pace bowling duo, South Africa batters were unable to move their feet well and fell like a deck of cards, with their scores resembling a binary code.
It took Maharaj’s efforts with the bat, apart from 25 by Aiden Markram and 24 by Wayne Parnell for the visitors’ to get past 100. Chahar began the carnage when he castled Temba Bavuma with an inswinger after bowling a couple of outswingers. In the next over, Arshdeep got one to swing a length ball away from Quinton de Kock, who just chopped on to his stumps.
Arshdeep then enticed Rilee Rossouw to drive at a full and swinging away delivery, giving a thick outer edge behind to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and fall for a golden duck. On the very next ball, Arshdeep got a fuller ball to come back in and shatter David Miller’s stumps by hitting the top of middle stump.
Parnell and Maharaj hit some boundaries in their 26-run stand for the seventh wicket, before the former holed out to long-off to become Axar Patel’s first scalp of the match.
Maharaj then hit his third boundary of the over with a well-timed drive wide of mid-off and helped South Africa reach 100-run mark, before being cleaned up by a slower ball from Harshal in the final over.
Suryakumar gets closer to No 1 spot in T20I rankings
New Delhi: Suryakumar Yadav’s rise in the T20I rankings continues. He has now gone up to second spot with his rating points going past 800. He is now only behind Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan in the standings and is one spot ahead of Rizwan’s team mate and captain Babar Azam.
Suryakumar now has 801 rating points after smashing a match-winning 69 off 36 deliveries in the third match against Australia in Hyderabad on Sunday that helped India clinch the series 2-1. India captain Rohit Sharma also moved up one place to 13th position after scores of 46 not out and 17 in the second and third T20I against Australia. Only a couple of rating points separate Suryakumar and Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who also improved a spot to grab the third position.
Babar, who had occupied the No.1 position for 1,155 days before being overtaken by teammate Mohammad Rizwan earlier this month, was named Player of the Match for an unbeaten 110 in the second T20I against England.