Suryakumar, Jaiswal and Kuldeep star in India’s series-levelling T20I win against South Africa at the Wanderers

 Suryakumar Yadav was in sublime form and smashed a ton. (Photo: BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav composed his fourth T20I ton and Yashasvi Jaiswal smacked a fifty, while Kuldeep Yadav took a five-for as India thumped South Africa by a 106-run margin at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, to level the three-match series 1-1. South Africa could muster just 95 in a chase of 202. The first game in Durban was abandoned due to rain.

The star of India’s performance was undoubtedly Suryakumar. The India captain came out to bat in the third over at the fall of Tilak Varma’s wicket. However, barring a six off Keshav Maharaj over mid-wicket, Suryakumar was largely content picking up singles and twos. In fact, at the end of the 10th over, Suryakumar was on 26 off 24 deliveries. It was Jaiswal, his batting partner, who kept the scorecard moving with some fine shots off Lizaad Williams and Tabraiz Shamsi. 

Eventually, in the 13th over, Suryakumar decided to press the accelerator, smacking Andile Phehlukwayo for three sixes and a boundary. The way he bent his back to tonk the bowler for a six over the cow corner gave a glimpse of his pyrotechnics. After Jaiswal was dismissed by Shamsi, he and Rinku Singh shared a stand of 47 for the fourth wicket. 

Suryakumar once more put on an impressive exhibition of hitting, collecting 16 runs in the 16th. Ultimately, in the last over, he was dislodged for exactly 100 by Williams. India lost a couple more wickets, including Jitesh Sharma being dismissed hit-wicket. But that didn’t stop the visitors from reaching a competitive total.

With the altitude factor coming into play at the Wanderers, South Africa would have believed the target wasn’t out of their reach. Just that the Indian pace bowlers and spinners extracted more life than their counterparts.

Mohammed Siraj set the tone by constantly beating the bat of Reeza Hendricks in the first over with late out-swing. In the next over, the talented Matthew Breetzke inside-edged one onto the stumps. 

After that, there was a procession of wickets. The spin pair of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav found purchase from the pitch to run through the middle and lower order. Kuldeep finished with redoubtable figures of 5 for 17, his best in T20Is.  

Jadeja took a couple of scalps for the cost of 25 runs. The two spinners didn’t just extract a bit of turn, but also took advantage of the variable bounce on offer. The way Kuldeep cleaned up Donvan Ferreira and Maharaj with low bounce encapsulates the point. Meanwhile, David Miller was the top-scorer for the hosts with 35 and was the last man dismissed.

The only concern for India was Suryakumar twisting his ankle while fielding. The T20I series will be followed by a three-match ODI series. The first match is on December 17 at the very, same Wanderers.

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