A goal of 107 on a pitch with underlying moisture and more than waist-deep rebounding was difficult at times before Suryakumar (50 steps out on 33 balls) released the pressure created by KL Rahul (51 not out, 56 ball) as India won the match in 16.4 overs to lead 1-0 in the three-game series.
Dashboard | How it happened
The pitch which former India head coach Ravi Shastri called “not ideal for T20 cricket” had batters from both teams struggling to cope with both pace and movement.
It was Arshdeep (3/32) and Chahar (2/24), who essentially clinched the problem for India in the first 15 deliveries of the start after skipper Rohit Sharma called him just in the draw. Once South Africa were shocked at 9/5 in 2.3 overs, the game was over and 106/8, even on a difficult track, was below average.
The South Africans put their hearts into the defense.
Kagiso Rabada threw an ideal test match delivery that pitched lengthwise and reared up while moving a shadow and all Rohit Sharma (0) could do was swing his bat down the lane of uncertainty.
Virat Kohli (3) received a quick delivery from Anrich Nortje who continued to climb as he tried to get away from his body and the advantage was taken by Quinton de Kock.
Surya, India’s best T20 hitter by far, got a six streak when his shot attempt turned into an outside edge that flew over the third man for a max off Nortje.
#TeamIndia ends things in style! 👌 👌A SIX from vice-captain @klrahul to raise his FIFTY as India take a… https://t.co/Jgph3j2bo6
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1664384185000
The next six was a perfect whip on a deep square leg, then an upside-down six Keshav Maharaj indicated that he is India’s fit man.
Rahul’s batting at the other end on the same tape became a test as India had their lowest ever Powerplay score.
Just that there was no pressure on the scoreboard, Rahul could once play his waiting game and the only shot worth appreciating was a six from Nortje.
Earlier, Arshdeep and Chahar got the white Kookaburra talking with an incisive bowling swing after Jasprit Bumrah retired from the game due to his recurring back problem which resurfaced once again.
The duo moved the ball back and forth, taking full advantage of the pinch in the air and the bounce on the box.
Temba Bavuma (0) was set up well by Chahar with stock outswingers, which the skipper left alone before a banana inswinger sent him through the gate. The deflection in the batter was as big as it could get.
Arshdeep started by taking the shadow off the ball from the southpaw and Quinton de Kock (1) in his attempt to get a move brought one over the stumps.
Other southpaw Rilee Rossouw (0) also chased a wide outswinger (inswinger by the bowler) to clip one to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.
But it’s Arshdeep’s handover to David Miller (0) that will long be remembered.
Miller was expecting an outswinger and had stepped on the front foot only to find that the bowler had had one to bend into him. His atrocious shot across the line would have only resulted in one thing and that was getting castled.
New T20 sensation Tristan Stubbs (0) didn’t have enough wood for his slash on a Chahar delivery that rebounded a shade more. The result was Arshdeep taking a well-judged hold as he dived in front.
With five wickets gone, there was no going back for South Africa and, predictably, there was no change in the script.