12/04/2022
Left-hander Rilee Rossouw smashed an unbeaten 100 off 48 balls to fire South Africa to a formidable 227 for three in the third T20 International as Indian bowlers once again faltered under pressure here on Tuesday. T20 World Cup-bound Harshal Patel (0/49) continued to leak a lot of runs on a forgettable night for all four Indian pacers.

Quinton de Kock’s second consecutive half-century to regain his form. Along with Rossouw, QDK shared a stand of 90 runs for the second wicket and laid the foundation for a big total. Making full use of the small dimensions of the Holkar stadium, where even the mishits were going the distance. And the wrong lines bowled by the Indian bowlers, made the job easier for the visitors as Rossouw and the remaining batters kept punishing them.

Indian bowlers faltered in the second half of the innings as Protea batters milked more than 12 runs an over in the last 10. T20 World Cup-bound Harshal Patel (0/49) continued to leak a lot of runs on a forgettable night for all four Indian pacers.

Chasing a mammoth 228 in 120 balls, the Indian batters failed to take any responsibility and kept throwing their wickets away to eventually get bundled out for 178 in 18.3 overs. Dinesh Karthik – who was promoted at number 4 – top-scored 46 but like every other batter, he too threw his wicket away as the hosts failed terribly.

Dwaine Pretorius – who was playing the first match of the series – was the pick of the bowlers with 3/26. While Wayne Parnell, Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj picked up two wickets each. Indians won the series 2-1 but their batters would be looking to forget the performance tonight.

Deepak Chahar, Mohammad Siraj and Umesh Yadav also went for more than 11 runs per over as they were put to the sword by Rossouw and Quinton de Kock (68 off 43 balls).

On a belter of a pitch, South Africa made a strong start, reaching 48 for one in the powerplay with de Kock and Rossouw in a destructive mood.

Their belligerent stand came after skipper Temba Bavuma (3) fell cheaply. Under a lot of pressure after scoring two zeroes, Bavuma looked totally out of touch and ended up mistiming a regulation at mid-on off the very first ball bowled by Umesh Yadav.

De Kock, who had to work hard for runs in Guwahati, was back to his best. He got his first six with a pick-up shot off Siraj who featured for the first time in the series.

The next six was even more delightful as he moved across the stumps to swat a wide-length ball off Chahar over square leg. Rossouw got into the act with a flat six off Siraj in the seventh over.

With two left handers in full swing, Rohit decided to hold Axar Patel till the 14th over. R Ashwin, who was brought in the powerplay, was hit for two maximums in the ninth over. One was a spectacular reverse sweep from de Kock before Rossouw employed the conventional sweep to dispatch the spinner over the deep backward square leg. Siraj could have caught the latter but fluffed it over the fence. India got de Kock run out against the run of play but South African batters kept aiming for the big hits.

Rossouw greeted Axar into the attack with a slog sweep that went all the way. It seemed Rossouw was hitting sixes for fun as he ended up with eight of them.

There was a light moment before the start of the 16th over when Chahar saw Stubbs backing up at the non-striker’s end but did not take the bails off in what seemed a like gentle warning.

In the final over of the innings, the in-form David Miller sent a high full toss from Chahar out of the ground before collecting two more sixes. The over-fetched 24 runs as South Africa set a daunting target for India.