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Two Yadavs combine for India to crush Proteas in final T20I

Two Yadavs combine for India to crush Proteas in final T20I
Donovan Ferreira of the Proteas during the 3rd T20 International match between South Africa and India at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on 14 December 2023. India won convincingly by 106 runs, drawing the series level at 1-1. (Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

India drew the T20I series level at 1-1 after a convincing 106-run win over the Proteas at Wanderers on Thursday.

Indian captain Suryakumar Yadav clubbed a century to guide India to a massive 201 for seven before Kuldeep Yadav took a second innings five-fer to help the guests dismiss the Proteas for an embarrassing 95 runs in 13.5 overs on Thursday evening.

India clinched the victory comfortably by 106 runs to tie up the series.

Yadav (100 off 56), the batter, put on a masterclass in front of a sold-out Wanderers crowd. It was an exhibition of 20-over batting, manipulating the tidy Proteas bowlers to every nook of the stadium.

South Africa’s fast-bowling stocks were greatly depleted with Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada unavailable because of injury while Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen were released to their franchises to play in the ongoing round of four-day fixtures to prepare for the Test series against the same opposition.

“He hits all around the ground. It’s difficult to set a field to him … Anyone that can lap, scoop, go straight, go over cow corner and over cover … it’s very hard to set a field to,” David Miller said of Yadav’s innings after the match.

Although the 202 to win would require an excellent batting effort by the hosts, it looked possible on a fair playing wicket in the thin Johannesburg air.

However, the pitch became slower and the bounce more variable as South Africa’s batters struggled to adapt to the conditions under lights.

It was only Miller (35 off 25) who struck any score of significance as the Proteas wilted in the heat.

Indias thrashes Proteas in the third T20 international

Suryakumar Yadav celebrates bringing up his century during the third T20 International match against South Africa. India won by 106 runs. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Up and down wicket

The change in conditions was immediately evident as Mohammed Siraj opened proceedings with a maiden over to the red-hot Reeza Hendricks (eight off 13).

The innings only got going off the eighth ball, when Matthew Breetzke (four off three) creamed a Mukesh Kumar delivery through backward point with a delectable backfoot punch.

He tried the exact same shot a ball later but only succeeded in dragging the ball back onto his stumps.

Hendricks was made to dance by the talking ball delivered by Mohammed Siraj, eating up eight balls before finally getting off the mark.

After only just surviving the swinging ball, Hendricks dashed off for a single – bunted straight to mid-on – and was unceremoniously run out by the tormenting arm of Siraj.

Heinrich Klaasen’s (five off five) stay at the crease was brief with skipper Markram (25 off 14) seemingly the only batter able to find the pace of the wicket with three exquisite fours and two muscled sixes.

But the captain’s innings was brought to an end abruptly after top-edging a Ravindra Jajeda delivery off the first ball outside the powerplay.

Three wickets had fallen with the addition of only 19 runs at that point. 

Donovan Ferreira (12 off 11) and Miller steadied the rocky ship with a 33-run partnership for the fifth wicket, but after the former was castled by a Kuldeep Yadav delivery, and Keshav Maharaj (one off three) fell to the same trap an over later – sandwiched between Jadeja caught and bowling Andile Phehlukwayo (zero off three) – the match looked all but wrapped up with eight overs still to go.

Yadav trapped debutant Nandre Burger (one off three) and Lizaad Williams (zero off two) within three balls of each other before rattling the lone fighting Miller’s stumps two balls later to seal the mammoth win with 37 balls to spare.

Kuldeep Yadav of India and Tristan Stubbs of South Africa in action during the 2nd T20 International match at St George’s Park in Gqeberha, South Africa, on 12 December 2023. (Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Sky’s the limit

India got off to a rocket start with Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill knocking 29 runs off the opening two overs before the experienced Keshav Maharaj took two in two to get rid of Gill and Tilak Verma.

But that brought skipper Yadav to the crease to join the sprightly Jaiswal, who knocked a well-timed 60 off 41 deliveries.

The paired onslaught started in the 13th over when Yadav first dismissed the ball with disdain over cow corner, then showed finesse to guide the ball past short-third man for four before hitting back-to-back sixes over long off to take 22 runs off Andile Phehlukwayo.

The Indian skipper went from 35 runs off 29 deliveries to 57 off 33 deliveries in the 13th over.

India’s run rate exceeded 10 an over at that point as Yadav started to find the middle of his powerful willow consistently.

Yadav lost opener Jaiswal for a composed half-century (60) – attempting to kick on the scoring off Tabraiz Shamsi.

Nonetheless, Yadav’s bruising blade continued sending the ball whistling to the boundary as he peppered the relatively inexperienced pace attack to every corner of the bullring, striking seven fours and eight sixes.

A loud roar broke out from the smattering of vocal Indian support with flags waving sparsely once Yadav reached the three-figure mark.

South Africa’s bowlers were all under the pump with only Maharaj – with two wickets for 26 runs in four overs – going close to a run-a-ball.

Going for 33 in his first three overs, Burger came back well in his last over – and the team’s penultimate – to collect a maiden international wicket and only leak six runs.

The multi-format series continues on Sunday when the Proteas take on India in the Pink ODI, the first one-day international of three, at Wanderers Stadium. DM

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