RANCHI: With most of his much-fancied and illustrious India teammates busy warming up in Perth in the lead-up to the upcoming T20 World Cup Down Under, home boy Ishan Kishan grabbed the opportunity to hog the limelight at the floodlit JSCA International Stadium here on Sunday.
AS IT HAPPENED
Chasing 279 on a track that was a bit on the slower side, but without any demons in it, the southpaw started off patiently and, once set, took the aggressive route, blazing away to 93 off 84 balls with four boundaries and seven sixes.
Shreyas Iyer resumed from where he had left off in the last match (50) and played the anchor’s role to perfection to take India home to a series-levelling seven-wicket win with 25 balls to spare. In the process, the Mumbai cricketer notched up his second ODI century. It was his fifth 50-plus score in the last six ODI innings.
The Kolkata Knight Riders captain slammed 15 fours during his knock. Together with the Patna-born wicketkeeper-batter, Iyer stitched a 161-run stand – off 155 balls – for the 3rd wicket to steady the ship for India, who were down to 48 for two in 8.5 overs.
Skipper Shikhar Dhawan played a reckless shot coming down the crease losing his off stump to left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell. Shubman Gill played a breezy knock of 28 before being unlucky to offer a low catch to pacer Kagiso Rabada, who went down in a flash to pouch the chance in his follow-through.
From that point on, it was the Iyer-Kishan show. Both made sure there were no further hiccups in the chase and though Kishan fell only seven runs short of his maiden international hundred, India reached home easily as Sanju Samson joined the party.
Earlier, Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks scored steady half-centuries to stitch together a run-a-ball 129-run stand for the third wicket as South Africa reached 278/7 in 50 overs.
Criticised for their death bowling the last couple of weeks, the Indian bowlers led by Mohammed Siraj did an excellent job of stopping the visitors from breaching the 300-run mark. With 3-38 from 10 overs, Siraj was easily the pick of the Indian bowlers.
Shardul Thakur also bowled tight lines to help Siraj and the Proteas could score only 57 runs for the loss of two wickets in the last 10 overs. India were also helped by some poor shot selection by the visitors. Markram and Hendricks joined forces when South Africa were 40/2 after the mandatory first Powerplay and built a substantial partnership before Hendricks returned failing to clear the deep square-leg boundary off Siraj, with debutant allrounder Shahbaz Ahmed holding on to a neat catch.
Henrich Klaasen started quickly and raced to a 26-ball 30 with two sixes and fours each. However, a soft dismissal – trying to go inside-out to a googly off Kuldeep Yadav, led to good catch by Siraj. Two balls later, in the next over bowled by Washington Sundar, Markram departed failing to clear Dhawan at extra-cover while trying to whack the spinner.
In-form David Miller again looked in good touch but could not find the extra gear as the Proteas fell at least 20 short.