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SA vs IND, 3rd T20I, Review: India defy spirited Jonker in the thriller to win the series

Christiaan Jonker was brilliant in his debut game but Bhuvi's experience was too good for him.

Team India
Team India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India have defeated South Africa by 17 runs in the third and final T20 International at Newlands in Cape Town and sealed the series by 2-1. Though they were jolted by an injury to the skipper Virat Kohli, the visitors put on a decent total of 172 runs after being invited to bat first. The bowlers defended it equally well only to be threatened by the debutant Christiaan Jonker in the end which took the game right till the last over. However, the Men in Blue held their nerves to seal the nerve-wracking series victory against the home side.

South Africa won the toss for the third time in a row and opted to field first in the decider. It was a shocker for everyone when Virat Kohli missed out the crucial game due to a stiff back. The likes of Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah came into the side as Jaydev Unadkat and Yuzvendra Chahal were dropped. Even the home side made a few changes to their team by handing a debut to Christiaan Jonker and also brought in Aaron Phangiso at the expense of JJ Smuts and Dane Paterson.

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The stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma once again failed to impress as he was the bunny of Junior Dala in the second over of the innings. Though Suresh Raina got off to a brilliant with a magnificent six. He looked in great nick even as his partner Shikhar Dhawan struggled to score. Both added 65 runs for the second wicket as Raina was dismissed by Tabraiz Shamsi in the 10th over. He smashed 43 off just 27 deliveries with five boundaries and a solitary maximum.

Dhawan opened his arms after struggling for the major part of his knock but misjudged a single and was run-out on 47 which sucked the momentum out of the Indian innings. The likes of Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni and Karthik chipped in but the final push required at the death never came for the visitors. Junior Dala was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa as he returned with the figures of 3/35. The other bowlers also bowled well as they restricted the opponents to 172 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.

Thrilling run-chase

The new opening duo of Reeza Hendricks and David Miller strode out to the middle as South Africa sensed a series victory after restricting their opponents to a decent total. But the Indian pacers bowled well and didn’t give any freebies to them and conceded only 25 runs in the powerplay. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also scalped Hendricks meanwhile to keep the hosts on the tenterhooks.

The things didn’t change even after that as the struggling Miller holed out in the deep off Raina in the 10th over with the score only reading 45. However, the inclusion of Heinrich Klaasen brought some belief in the middle but he too succumbed to pressure falling to Pandya in the 13th over. In the process, the skipper JP Duminy found his groove in the only over bowled by Axar Patel. He smashed a couple of sixes off Axar to bring the chase back on track.

But even the last ray of hope for the hosts was sent back by Shardul Thakur in the 16th over which tilted the game completely in India’s favour. Duminy scored a valiant knock of 55 off 41 deliveries but they had left too much to do in the death overs. Jasprit Bumrah was too good for the lower middle order as he picked wickets at will and made it almost impossible for them to even score runs, forget hitting sixes.

But Jonker had other ideas with his team needing 53 runs in the last three overs. He smashed 18 runs off Shardul in the 18th over to bring his team back in the game after which Bumrah conceded 16 to leave 19 for Bhuvneshwar Kumar to defend. However, the experience of Kumar was too good for the youngster as Proteas could only score 11 runs off him with Jonker dismissing on 49 off 23 balls.

In the end, South Africa could reach 165 runs for the loss of 6 wickets eventually falling short by 7 runs. All the Indian bowlers bowled extremely well as everyone except Axar took wickets. The Men in Blue created history by winning both the limited overs trophy for the first time in the country and will be the happier of the two sides at the end of the tour. They competed well in the Test series and absolutely thumped South Africa who had absolutely no idea in the ODI series which was followed by a 2-1 series victory in the T20Is.

Brief Scores

India 172/7 after 20 overs (S Dhawan 47, S Raina 43; J Dala 3/35, C Morris 2/43)

South Africa 165/6 after 20 overs (JP Duminy 55, C Jonker 49; B Kumar 2/24, H Pandya 1/22)

Result: India won by 7 runs

Man of the Match: Suresh Raina

Man of the Series: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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