NEW DELHI: Ishan Kishan slammed 76 while Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya applied finishing touches to power India to a gigantic 211/4 in 20 overs against South Africa at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.
On a pitch where bowlers got some help, Kishan, Pant and Pandya played blistering knocks to post the highest total for India against South Africa in T20Is.
Asked to bat, India amassed 51 runs from power-play, which was a mix of luck being on their side and some scintillating shots. Keshav Maharaj went for 13 in his opening over, an outer edge off Kishan's bat beat short third man while on the very next ball, the left-hander danced down the pitch to loft over extra cover.
Luck continued to favour India as Ruturaj Gaikwad tried to hook but the top-edge went over fine leg off Anrich Nortje's pace. Both Nortje and Rabada were able to beat the edge of the bat with some away-shape and bounce on back of the length balls. But India pushed forward with some scintillating stroke play as Kishan placed a straight drive down the ground and had luck when Rabada squared him up, but the outer edge ran through third man.
Nortje came in for further attack in final over of power-play as Kishan slammed him for boundaries - a late cut went through third man, followed by a drilling a drive through the gap on the off-side. Post powerplay, Gaikwad fell when he lobbed a pull to mid-off off Parnell.
Kishan, though, continued to accelerate with boundaries - a punch through the off-side was followed by a ferocious drive past Dwaine Pretorius. Shreyas Iyer began by dealing in sixes, coming down the pitch and depositing Tabraiz Shamsi over long-on thrice. He got a life on 25 when Quinton de Kock missed his stumping off Maharaj.
Kishan brought up his fifty in 37 balls by dragging Maharaj for a mighty slog-sweep over mid-wicket for six. He further tore into Maharaj in the 13th over, depositing back-to-back sixes with slog sweep and pull over mid-wicket fence twice.
Kishan went on hit successive boundaries, lofting over the bowler's head and smashing a flat hit along the ground. But Maharaj had the last laugh as Kishan holed out to long-on. From being 28 off 15 balls, Iyer endured a slowdown before being bowled by an off-cutter from Pretorius for 36 off 27 balls.
Pant, who got great applause from the home crowd, began by straight-lofting Parnell for four. He then unleashed carnage on Pretorius in the 17th over, heaving over his head for a six followed by evading diving long-on for another six and closing the over with slice over cover for four.
Pandya, his deputy, whipped Parnell for four over mid-wicket and followed it up with a short-arm jab over long-on for six. Rabada came under thrashing from Pandya in the 19th over, when the right-hander lofted over long-on for six and squeezed a yorker past short fine leg to bring up India's 200.
Nortje had Pant caught out in the final over to cover before Pandya smacked a six over long-on to help India post the highest T20I score at this venue.
Brief Scores: India 211/4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 76, Shreyas Iyer 36; Wayne Parnell 1/32, Dwaine Pretorius 1/35) against South Africa