JOHANNESBURG: India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first T20I of the three-match series, at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Shikhar Dhawan was the wrecker-in-chief, walloping 72 off 39.
His knock helped India set a target of 204 runs, their highest score against South Africa. The bowlers then complimented the batters’ work, not succumbing to pressure. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers, taking his maiden five-wicket haul in the format.
Earlier, The Indian batters went berserk right from the word go. Rohit Sharma picked up 18 runs off the first over, smacking Dane Patterson for two sixes and a four.
However, the debutant Junior Dala got the better of him in the next over. In came Suresh Raina, ahead of Virat Kohli, and fired on all cylinders. However, his innings was as short and entertaining as Rohit’s. Raina, playing for India after a year, went for 15 off 7.
Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan once again unleashed mayhem in South Africa, with his 72 powering India to 203 for five wickets in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.
The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him.
After home captain Jean-Paul Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.
Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108.
Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.
A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings as Klassen dived front to removed the danger.
Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Panya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.
Brief scores: India: 203/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 72,) beat South Africa 175/9 (R Hendricks 70, Bhuvneshwar 5/24)
DE VILLIERS OUT OF T20 SERIES
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has been ruled out of the T20I series against India due to a knee injury that the 34-year-old sustained ahead of the sixth match of the one-day series. De Villiers couldn’t make much of an impact in the last ODI and the injury worsened during the match that resulted in him missing the first T20I of the three-match series.
The team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee said that although de Villiers was passed fit, the injury worsened during the sixth match.
Moosajee later went on to reveal that Cricket South Africa medical team has advised a period of rest and rehabilitation for de Villiers so that he can make a full recovery ahead of the four-match Test series against Australia starting next month.
“De Villiers suffered a blow to the knee while batting ahead of the fifth ODI, and although he passed a fitness test on Friday, the injury worsened significantly throughout the match.