Bowlers and openers shine as India keep series alive with 48-run win
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(Cricket news) India defeated South Africa in the 3rd T20I by 48 runs to keep the series alive at 2-1 with 2 matches to go. It turned out to be a good performance by India which resulted in a comfortable victory. Proteas batters for the first time in the series fell flat and didn't look comfortable. Both the teams went unchanged which was surprising considering it was a do or die game for India after two underwhelming performances.
Temba Bavuma won his 3rd consecutive toss and once again put India into bat first. Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad gave India a terrific start as they 97 run opening partnership in under 10 overs. Gaikwad scored his maiden international fifty as he got 57 off just 35 balls. He hit 5 fours off Anrich Nortje's 5th over which set the tone for the innings. Ishan Kishan continued his incredible run of form as he scored 54 off 35 balls. The innings included 5 fours and 2 sixes which brought up his 2nd fifty of the series. After the 10th over, South Africa started picking up wickets and slowed down the run rate quite a bit. Hardik Pandya scored 31 off 21 balls at the death to take India's total to 179. The Proteas did get hammered in the first half but recovered really well in the second half. Dwaine Pretorius was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up 2/29 in his 4 overs.
Defending 180, India started really well with the new ball. Axar Patel was brought in very early on in the 4th over itself and the plot worked as he got rid of Bavuma. India controlled the tempo very well as the required run rate kept on shooting up. The men in blue managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals. None of the Proteas batters really got going. Harshal Patel picked up 4 wickets in 3.1 overs and gave away only 25 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel got a wicket while Yuzvendra Chahal bagged the player of the match award. Chahal finished with figures of 3/20 as he picked up the wickets of Heinrich Klaasen, Rassie Van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius. South Africa were bowled out for 131 runs as India won by 48 runs.
The win will be a massive confidence booster for India who now have a chance to level the series in Rajkot. South Africa can still seal the series with a win in the next match. The fact that India has stuck with the same line-up for the 3 games makes it clear that there will be no changes in the next match unless the conditions are completely different.