GUWAHATI: India staved off a late blitzkrieg from South Africa to win the three-match T20I series 2-0 in the second game here on Sunday. Set to chase a daunting 238, South Africa’s David Miller struck a heroic unbeaten 106 (47b, 8x4, 7x6) and along with Quinton de Kock, who was not out on 69 (48b, 3x4, 4x6), added an unbroken 174 runs for the fourth wicket. But India, despite some slapdash performance in the field, held its nerve to prevail in a high-scoring thriller restricting the visitor to 221/3.
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh once again struck early removing South Africa’s captain Temba Bavuma for 0 in the second over and Rilee Rossouw two balls later for zero. Just when another implosion looked imminent, South Africa’s left-hand combination of Miller and de Kock’s enterprising partnership took them within a few boundary hits of an improbable victory.
Earlier, the Indian top-four batters once again put up a superlative show to post a massive 237 for 3. A sellout crowd witnessed raining boundaries at the small ACA Barsapara Stadium as the Indian batters smashed 25 fours and 13 sixes. They scored 178 runs in boundaries.
Rohit Sharma (43 off 37 balls) and KL Rahul (57 off 28 balls) started it before Suryakumar Yadav (61 off 22 balls), Virat Kohli (49 not out) and Dinesh Karthik (17 not out) finished it off in style.
Replying to his critics, Rahul (57) was back at his aggressive best, slamming a 24-ball fifty, his second in a row, as he and Rohit put on 96 runs for the opening wicket that came off just 59 balls.
Yadav then continued to raise his standards higher with a third successive half-century that came off just 18 deliveries and India crossed the 200-mark in the 18th over.
With the top-four doing the bulk of the scoring, India’s designated finisher Karthik got just seven balls but he made the most of the opportunity, smashing two sixes and one four in his quickfire 17 not out.
The South African pacers looked lacklustre and bowled full and the Indians feasted on them.
Rohit first began the onslaught and Rahul followed it up in style after Bavuma put them in.
After being hit on his hand from Wayne Parnell in the second over, Rohit came out all guns blazing while Rahul was a mute spectator with nine from five balls.
BRIEF SCORES: India 237/3 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 61, KL Rahul 57, V Kohli 49*, R Sharma 43) bt South Africa 221/3 in 20 overs (D Miller 106*, Q de Kock 69*)