A scintillating maiden T20I century from Rilee Rossouw led South Africa to a convincing 49 run win over India in the third and final T20I and helped them avoid a clean sweep in the three-match series at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, here on Tuesday.
With the win in the first two T20Is, India won the three-match series 2-1. On the other hand, the win in the last game will give the Proteas momentum heading into the upcoming ODI series and also some confidence ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.
A brilliant century from Rossouw (100 not out off 48) and a fine fifty by Quinton de Kock (68 off 43) powered South Africa to 227/3 in 20 overs, after being invited to bat first. Apart from Rossouw and De Kock, Tristan Stubbs (23 off 18) and David Miller (19 not out off 5) also played valuable knocks for South Africa, who were also helped by India's sloppy fielding.
Chasing a mammoth total, India were off to a poor start, losing the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer early. Rohit, while trying to drive off the back foot, got out for a duck on the second ball of the innings to Rabada. On the other hand, Iyer was trapped in front of the wicket by left-armer Parnell.
Despite the wickets, Pant, who opened the innings and Karthik, who came to bat at No 4, dealt in regular boundaries to get India going in the chase. Pant slammed two sixes and two fours off Ngidi in the fifth over but got out soon after, handing a catch to Stubbs at cover-point to depart for a 14-ball 27.
However, Karthik ensured that India had a profitable powerplay. He hit six, four, six off Parnell in the sixth over as India managed 39 off the last two powerplay overs and reached 64/3 after six overs.
Veteran Karthik also struck two sixes off Maharaj in the seventh over, but he got out to the spinner bowled for a 21-ball 46 after failing to execute a reverse shot. Suryakumar Yadav, couldn't do much and got out to Pretorius after striking a six, with Stubbs taking an excellent diving catch running in from deep extra cover, leaving India in deep trouble at 86/5 after 8 overs.
Thereafter, Harshal Patel (17) and Axar Patel (9) had a brief partnership of 22 runs for the sixth wicket but they too got out in quick succession. Having struck two fours and a six, Harshal got out to Ngidi as he found Miller at long-off while Axar got out for 9 off 8, getting an under edge off Parnell to hand wicket-keeper a catch. Ravichandran Ashwin (2) also couldn't do much and got out to Keshav Maharaj as India slipped further to 120/8 in the 13th over.
It was Deepak Chahar, who did some good hitting, smashing two fours and two sixes and helped India to the 150 mark in the 16th over while Umesh also scored a couple of boundaries during their partnership.
The 48-run stand for the ninth wicket came to an end when Chahar, after striking a six off Pretorius, fell in his attempt to score another, departing for 31 off 17, leaving India at 168/9 in the 17th over. Siraj was the last to depart, getting out to Pretorius as India were bowled out for 178 in 18.3 overs. Dwaine Pretorius 3/26, Keshav Maharaj 2/34) were the most successful bowlers for Proteas.
Earlier, put into bat first, De Kock gave Sri Lanka a flying start, smashing all India pacers Siraj and Chahar for boundaries and sixes. However, skipper Temba Bavuma was struggling at the other end. Umesh, introduced into the attack in the fourth over, struck off his first ball to end Bavuma's struggle, leaving South Africa to 30/1 after 4.1 overs.
Rilee Rossouw, who came to bat next, started his innings on a positive note, hitting a four to leg side boundary off Umesh and followed it up with another four a little finer. He then went over deep midwicket off Ashwin for his first six as South Africa ended the powerplay at 48/1.
Even after the end of powerplay, both South African batters continued their aggressive intent. De Kock reverse-sweeped Ashwin for a six and in the same over, Siraj put down a catch to give Rossouw a reprieve and a six. Soon, De Kock brought up his fifty in 33-balls with a six off Umesh. In the same over, Rossouw went past fine leg for a four as South Africa moved to 96/1 after 10 overs.
Both Rossouw and De Kock were holding the South Africa innings firm and Indian bowlers had no answers. It was eventually Shreyas Iyer's bullet throw which brought some respite for India, when De Kock attempted a quick second but got run out, leaving South Africa to 120/2 in 12.1 overs.
De Kock's wicket didn't affect South Africa much as a barrage of fours and sixes continued, with Umesh and Axar taken to the cleaners. With a six off Axar, Rossouw brought up a 27-ball fifty and then hit six off Harshal as South Africa moved to 154/2 after 15 overs.
Young Tristan Stubbs was also complementing Rossouw well from the other hand with timely boundaries as South Africa were racing towards a strong finish. Rossouw got to his maiden T20I ton - off 48 deliveries - with a single off Chahar in the first ball of the last over. The pacer then dismissed Stubbs in the next ball, which brought dangerous David Miller to the crease.
Miller then hit three sixes off Chahar as South Africa got 24 off the final over to finish with a mammoth total of 227-3 in 20 overs. Umesh Yadav (1/34) and Deepak Chahar (1/48) were the wicket-takers for India.
Brief scores: South Africa 227-3 in 20 Overs (Rilee Rossouw 100 not out, Quinton de Kock 68; Umesh Yadav 1/34) beat India 178-10 in 18.3 Overs (Dinesh Karthik 46, Deepak Chahar 31; Dwaine Pretorius 3/26, Keshav Maharaj 2/34) by 49 runs
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