South Africa began their official campaign against India on a winning note. In an evenly contested T-20 game at Dharamshala, the visitors refused to be overawed by India’s score of 199/5 as they gave a hot chase to the 200-run victory target. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were all business as they set upon a brisk pace from the first over onwards. Later in the South African innings, JP Duminy finished the task admirably. Earlier, India had done reasonably well with Rohit Sharma leading them with a century. Rohit was only the second centurion from India after Suresh Raina. In the end, however, Rohit’s century didn’t help India as JP Duminy won the game for South Africa with his terrific persistence.
South Africa chose to field after winning the toss in the evening. Despite a slow start, India’s openers had done well to lead the charge before Shikhar Dhawan fell run out in attempting a hesitant second run. But Rohit Sharma continued with Virat Kohli and the two batsmen frustrated the South African bowlers with a forceful display. They added 138 for the second wicket and when Virat Kohli fell in the 16th over, India had already reached 160/2. Rohit Sharma became the second Indian to score a T-20 century after Suresh Raina had made a 60-ball 101 against the same opponents at St. Lucia more than five years ago. Rohit and Kohli effectively diffused South African short-ball weapon and scored freely in middle overs. In the process, both batsmen reached personal milestones. Kohli completed 1000 runs in T-20 cricket, when he pulled Imran Tahir to a six at deep midwicket and became the first Indian to do so. Rohit’s century, which also came from a six, fetched him the honor of scoring hundreds in all formats of the game. Kohli’s 27-ball 43 was studded with a four and 3 sixes. He could have gone on further but threw his wicket in the 16th over, after his short-arm pull off Kyle Abbott fell straight into JP Duminy’s hands. Rohit also got out in the same over from Abbott as the top edge from his mis-hit pull was nicely taken by Chris Morris at long leg. India lost two quick wickets, when Raina and Rayudu also fell in quick succession. However, Dhoni’s 12-ball 20 ensured that India finished at 199/5 in 20 overs.
The target of 200 was challenging but Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers set a scorching pace from the beginning. The two South African openers hammered the Indian attack with disdain and with the Dharamshala pitch assisting the batting, they racked up 67 runs in the Powerplay overs. Amla was first to go in the 8th over as a run-out victim but de Villiers completed his fifty before he was bowled by Ashwin. Skipper Faf du Plessis also fell cheaply and at that point South Africa stood at 95/3 in 10.3 overs. India couldn’t capitalize after getting the wickets of de Villiers and du Plessis as JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien took control of the proceedings. They scored freely and never looked like getting out. The two South African batsmen shared an unfinished 105-run fourth-wicket partnership as the visitors chased down 200 with 2 balls remaining. It was only the second time in T-20 history that South Africa successfully chased the 200-run target. New man Aravind was entrusted with the task of defending 10 runs off the last over. His first two balls fell in the right areas but Duminy pulled the third over deep midwicket to draw the scores level. Off the next ball South Africa took the winning run and took a 1-0 lead in the series.
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