South African bowler Beuran Hendricks during a practice session ahead of the 2nd T20 Match against the host India. Photo: ANI

JOHANNESBURG – An admirably smart bowling display set up a series-tying win for the Proteas on an unusually sluggish pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday night. 

A venue normally known for producing big totals - on account of what is normally an easy paced surface, coupled with a small and quick outfield - instead produced a slow pitch, which made scoring tougher than is usually the case there. But the surface alone was not responsible the insufficient target set by the hosts.

The Indian batsmen played as if the surface was it’s normal easy self, with some gifting their wickets away. And then there was the South African bowling, which was of a high standard, although you’d not have thought so given the start. 

Kagiso Rabada is very much the leader of this youthful Proteas attack conceded 17 runs in his first over - the second of the Indian innings - that included three wides and a couple of half-volleys that Rohit Sharma dispatched to the boundary. 

However Beuran Hendricks showed the way, producing a performance with the ball in which - in his own words - he kept things simple, mixed up his pace and importantly for him, he didn’t go searching for swing. That was naturally on offer, and was part of the reason he earned his first wicket, when Rohit went fishing outside his off-stump and edged to Reeza Hendricks at slip.

Despite that wicket Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli still managed to get India to 54 in the power play, but then the South African spin duo; Bjorn Fortuin and Tabriaz Shamsi put a brake on the scoring. Shamsi cleverly adjusted his length to deceive Dhawan who skyed one to Temba Bavuma. Dhawan’s 36 (25b, 4x4, 2x6) was the top score in the India innings.

Rabada recovered from his terrible opening over to get rid of Kohli for just nine, with the Indian captain flicking the ball in the air to midwicket, where Andile Phehlukwayo showed good judgement and balance to hold onto a running catch.

The Indian innings folded thereafter, with Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Krunal Pandya all gifting their wickets away. Although Rabada was the most successful of the South African bowlers with three wickets, it was Beuran Hendricks who led the way and his 2/14 in four overs was the performance of a player deserving of more opportunities at the highest level in this format. 

Fortuin and Shamsi, who combined for 3/42 in seven overs, showed street-smarts and accuracy too.

The chase was dealt with efficiently; Quinton de Kock slapped a few sixes over the leg-side and drove lavishly over the covers, as he made a second consecutive fifty, finishing on 79 not out off 52 ball, hitting six fours and five sixes in the process. Reeza Hendricks eased his way to 28 and Bavuma played some sparkling shots in his unbeaten 27.

India 134/9

South Africa 140/1

South Africa won by 9 wickets

Series tied 1-1.

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