Virat Kohli made sure his team came away with a win against the Proteas in their T20. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

If the Proteas were not aware of how tough this tour of India really was going to be, they certainly found out in the second T20I at Mohali on Wednesday.

For much of the match it seemed as if it were men toying with boys as the hosts romped to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory, anchored by a sumptuous 72 not out off 52 balls from captain Virat Kohli.

It was only when Proteas stand-in skipper Quinton de Kock (52 off 37 balls) and T20I debutant Temba Bavuma (49 off 43) were at the crease were the visitors in the contest as the pair shared a 57-run partnership for the second wicket.

But instead of it being the platform for the bigger hitters like Rassie van der Dussen (1) and David Miller (18) to provide the momentum lower down, the innings faltered away meekly. It was the period from the 15th to 19th that really hurt South Africa’s innings as the visitors managed just 23 runs during these lean four overs.

Washington Sundar (0/19), Deepak Chahar (2/22) and Hardik Pandya (1/31) were particularly economical at that stage for the hosts, as they took pace off the bowl to maximise the effect of a surface that was holding up occasionally.

The Proteas failed to heed these lessons and attacked the hosts with their two fastest bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, with the new ball. But the quicker they bowled, the faster they sped to the boundary with Rohit Sharma smashing debutant Nortje for two massive sixes in his first T20I over.

Nortje was one of three debutants in the Proteas team along with Bavuma and left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin (1/32).

It was only after the introduction of Andile Phehlukwayo (1/20) into the Proteas attack that the run-flow was stalled momentarily with the canny all-rounder trapping Sharma (12) plumb in front. Phehlukwayo was desperately unlucky a few moments later when Virat Kohli survived a close appeal when the “umpire’s call” was upheld after De Kock had sent the decision upstairs.

It took a further moment of absolute brilliance for the Proteas to claim their second wicket when Miller produced a feat of sublime athleticism on the long-off boundary. Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 31 balls) must have thought he struck the ball cleanly enough to clear the boundary, but could only look on as Miller flung himself full length to his right to pouch a superb one-handed diving catch.

There were no flutters at any point though, particularly with Kohli timing the ball sweetly from the moment he walked to the crease. The beauty of the Indian maestro is his ability to find the boundary without taking any unnecessary risks as he merely extends a defensive off-side push into a flowing cover drive.

However, he kept his best for Proteas ace fast bowler Rabada. With the big fast bowler not yet shaking off this World Cup cob-webs, Kohli capitalised on a stray delivery down the leg-side by smartly flicking it high over into the stands behind the mid-wicket boundary.

The skipper ensured the match did not require a last over when he closed off the game with a six off Fortuin before Shreyas Iyer (16*) struck the winning boundary.

South Africa: 149/5 (De Kock 52, Bavuma 49, Sundar 2/22)

India: 151/3 (Kohli 72*, Dhawan 40, Shamsi 1/19)

India won by 7 wickets


IOL Sport

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