Cricket

India Vs South Africa: Shikhar Dhawan And Bhuvenshwar Kumar Shine As Men In Blue Win The First T20

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| February 19 , 2018 , 11:31 IST

In one of the most well-rounded performances by India in recent history, they won the first T20 match against South Africa in Johannesburg by 28 runs on Sunday.

Shikhar Dhawan’s score of 72 runs off 39 balls and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s scrapping 5 wickets for 24 runs in 4 overs, laid the foundation for a fantastic win over the Proteas.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl, enabling India to put on runs on the scoreboard. They did just that by posting a mammoth total of 203 runs at the expense of 5 wickets. With a suspect bowling effort by the home side, they had to more than make up for it by chasing the target.

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At a batting track at Wanderers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got off to a flying start and playing with their luck along the way. As Rohit Sharma departed at 21, surpisiningly Suresh Raina walked in and played a handy cameo.

After Raina skied a pull-shot and was subsequently caught, Indian captain Virat Kohli walked in. He has been in a scintillating form lately, and wanted to pounce on the great start his opening pair had provided. Kohli and Dhawan marched India past 78 runs in the 6 powerplay overs, fully capitalizing on the momentum.

As India crossed the 100 runs mark, Kohli fell. Dhawan continued smacking the ball and reached his half-century off 27 balls. It was the quickest T20 half-century by an Indian batsman against South Africa, going past Rohit’s 32-ball effort at Durban in 2011.

He added 47 runs with Manish Pandey (29*) for the fourth wicket as the Indian inning revolved around him.

India lost a bit of a momentum after his departure in the 15th over but still managed to post a target of 204 for South Africa to chase.

The host’s chase never really got going despite JJ Smuts and Reeza Hendricks finding the boundary in the first two overs. Bhuvneshwar got Smuts (14) with a knuckle ball, deceiving him who chipped a shot and Dhawan took a simple catch. Two overs later, Raina took a similarly well-judged catch running back from mid-wicket, this time sending back captain JP Duminy (3),  off Bhuvneshwar as well a. The hosts managed only 41/2 at the end of the powerplays.

In between, skipper Virat Kohli left the field owing to a left-hip problem and the team physio is currently managing his situation but the management said the issue is not serious.

Hendricks reached his maiden T20 half-century off 37 balls, but was later dismissed by Bhuvenshwar at 70, and from there on South African innings crumbled. So much so, India managed a team-hattrick in that very over, virtually sealing win there and then.

This was the first of the three matches of the series, with the next one scheduled on February 21.