De Kock leads Proteas to 9-wicket win over India to level T20I series

BENGALURU: India captain Virat Kohli’s bold move to bat first boomeranged on his team as Quinton de Kock (79) spearheaded South Africa’s chase for a series-levelling nine-wicket win in the third T20 International here on Sunday. To everyone’s surprise, Kohli opted to bat after the coin landed in his favour on one of the smallest grounds, always known to favour teams chasing in the shortest format. Initially though, the decision seemed to have worked as India raced to 54 for one in six overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The departure of Shikhar Dhawan gave the South Africans an opening, and they grabbed it with both hands, snuffing out eight Indian wickets for 71 runs. In their chase, South African captain de Kock looked in complete control and struck six fours and five sixes in his unbeaten 52-ball unbeaten 79. He added 76 runs for the first wicket with Reeza Hendricks in 10 overs and then put on another 64 with Temba Bavuma. After moving to 19 in four overs, De Kock cut loose by hitting Navdeep Saini for two sixes, and there was no looking back. Earlier, India were stopped at 134 for nine by a disciplined South African attack. Top-scorer Dhawan blazed away to a 25-ball 36 and got India off to a brisk start that yielded them 54 runs in the first six overs. Kagiso Rabada was expensive but picked up three wickets, while there were two apiece for Bjorn Fortuin (2-19 in 3 overs) and Beuran Hendricks (2-14).

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