Bengaluru, India (AP) — South Africa captain Quinton de Kock hit an unbeaten 79 off 52 balls and powered his side to a series-leveling nine-wicket victory over India in their third and final Twenty20 match on Sunday.
India missed a chance to win a first-ever T20 series against South Africa on home soil after winning the toss and scoring only 134-9.
De Kock and Reeza Hendricks (28 off 26) put on a rapid 76 off 61 for the opening wicket on a friendly batting surface as South Africa went on to reach 140-1 in 16.5 overs.
Hardik Pandya (1-23) got the lone wicket for India but it didn’t deter South Africa. De Kock and Temba Bavuma (27 not out) put on 64 as the visitors romped home in style. Bavuma ended the match with a huge six.
De Kock hit six fours and five sixes, completely dominating the bowling.
India wants to test its batting strength in the buildup to the 2020 T20 World Cup and chose to bat at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. It didn’t pay off, though.
“This is the template we want to follow before the World T20. We should be able to find the answers. We will try to get the squad composition right as soon as we can,” India captain Virat Kohli said afterward.
Rohit Sharma (9) was caught at slip in the third over off Bueran Hendricks (2-14).
Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Kohli (9) came together for India’s best partnership of the innings. They put on 41 off 30 balls as the runs flowed smoothly.
South Africa struck twice in the space of eight balls as both batsmen holed out. Dhawan’s skier off Tabraiz Shamsi (1-23) was caught by Bavuma, while Andile Phehlukwayo caught Kohli’s offering at deep midwicket off Kagiso Rabada, who took 3-39.
It seemed a conscious plan by the top-order trio to bat aggressively despite the risks and India was reduced to 68-3.
Rishabh Pant (19) was caught off Bjorn Fortuin (2-19). The spinner struck twice in two balls as Shreyas Iyer (5) was also stumped, pegging India further back to 92-5.
Hardik Pandya (14) and Ravindra Jadeja (19) tried to resuscitate the innings but Rabada’s excellent death spell prevented any recovery.
India won the second T20 in Mohali by seven wickets, while the first match in Dharamsala was washed out.
India and South Africa start a three-test series in Visakhapatnam on Oct. 2.