The single T20 match before the 5 ODI’s between India and South Africa was entertaining to say the least.
An almost completely different side tackling a completely different format, where Test matches had experience like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the T20 had Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.
India won the toss and skipper MS Dhoni elected to bat first. Just like the Indian side was different the same was with South Africa. They have Morne Van Wyk, Makhaya Ntini and Rusty Theron.
It seemed like there was no stopping India, Virat Kohli walked in with exploding energy, made 28 runs of 19 balls but ended up getting dismissed by Botha. Murli Vijay looked to settle down but as we all know in 20-20 cricket there is no time to be able to settle down, Murli made 14 runs of 12 balls before he was dismissed by Wayne Parnell.
Rohit Sharma joined the fray filled with adrenalin; he bludgeoned the South African bowlers hitting the ball all over the park, he looked like a man on a mission and made 53 runs of just 34 balls before he was dismissed by JP Duminy. Rohit Sharma’s contribution ended up becoming the most important of the entire match.
Yuvraj Singh walked in with a point to prove, he seemed like he was comfortable before a miss understanding with Yusuf Pathan regarding a single which was justified was completely ignored by Pathan, this resulted in Yuvraj Singh getting run out by Miller/Peterson, the frustration was clearly visible on Yuvraj’s face as he walked back.
Yusuf Pathan made no contribution to the batting as such; he ended up making only 6 runs of 8 balls as Rusty Theron took his all important wicket. Suresh Raina was a saving grace fortunately, Dhoni’s overly superstitious mind was probably praying for Raina to do well.
Raina made 41 runs of 23 balls, he was pumping up the entire stadium by whacking the ball for 4’s and 6’s, his was also a crucial contribution to the score but again was caught by David Miller to the bowling of Rusty Theron. MS Dhoni remained not out at the end of the 20 overs but it was clear from his style of playing that he isn’t the same player who walked into cricket those many years ago with stars in his eyes and highlights in his hair. He treads carefully and is no longer the hard hitter, but as long as he keeps leading the Indian side to victories it is doubtful that anyone will give a tiny rat’s behind.
So India put up a fighting total of 168 for them to defend.
South Africa started aggressively as well, without wasting any time they began hitting 4’s and 6’s giving Indian bowlers something to stress about.
Opener Hashim Amla looked out of sorts in this format of cricket; he was clean bowled by Ashish Nehra. However second opener Morne Wan Wky turned out to be quite troublesome for the Indians. He played elegant shots and with complete conviction, it looked at one point of time that he would run away with the game quite easily.
Frankly speaking, the over that changed the entire course of this match was the over bowled by Yuvraj Singh wherein one fabulous run out was seen that of AB de Villiers who apparently is known for his ability to run well between the wickets, his run out was by previously all thumbs Ashish Nehra and Suresh Raina who is a known terrific fielder. In that over itself Yuvraj Singh dismissed JP Duminy on a duck. From that point on, all the wickets that fell were relatively timely.
Morne Wan Wky batted brilliantly making 67 runs of 39 balls a record fast 50 in international T20 that of 50 runs in 24 ball. He will probably be disappointed in himself for getting out the way he did to Praveen Kumar getting caught in the deep by Ashish Nehra, at that stage it looked like he would lead South African to victory.
The rest of the South African contributions were minimal, Captain Johan Botha made the 2nd highest individual score from the South African side; 25 runs of 22 balls, everyone else fell like nine pins.
So Ashish Nehra took 2 wickets as did Yusuf Pathan who was dead useful as a bowler in this match he got the wickets of David Miller and Robin Peterson. Every other bowler of the day got one wicket i.e., Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Yuvraj Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Rohit Sharma was awarded man of the match in the presentation ceremony for his 53 runs which paved the path for India’s victory.
Makhaya Ntini retired from International cricket with the end of this match, he is a brilliant bowler and person, his personality and nature was obvious to anyone who saw him in the IPL or even if they saw the end of this match where all the Indian players embraced him like a friend congratulating him.