An unbeaten half-century by skipper Quinton de Kock and paceman Beuran Hendrick’s strong performance with the ball helped South Africa thrash India by nine wickets to draw their Twenty20 series 1-1 on Sunday.
Beuran returned figures of 2-14 to restrict India to 134 for nine after skipper Virat Kohli’s surprising decision to bat first in the third and final match at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
De Kock then anchored the chase with his 79 — his second successive half-century — off 52 balls on a pitch where teams usually opt to bat second.
The left-handed De Kock, who was recently named captain in the shortest format and made 52 in a losing cause on Wednesday after the opening match was washed out, smashed six fours and five sixes.
Kohli insisted he did not regret his decision to bat first, adding the team will challenge itself in the lead up to the T20 World Cup next year.
“Exactly what we wanted to do and that’s going to be the template we’ll follow for games we have before the World Cup,” Kohli said before sharing the trophy with De Kock.
“We will have games like this where we don’t execute what we want. But as long as the intent is there to improve, we’ll be in a good zone.”
De Kock put on 76 runs with opening partner Reeza Hendricks, who made 28, and then an unbeaten partnership of 64 with Temba Bavuma, 27 not out, to steer the team home.
But it was Beuran’s bowling effort that set the tone for the Proteas’ victory, with the left-arm quick the only change in the XI.
The hosts lost three of their top batsmen early, including Kohli for nine.
Rohit Sharma was the first to go for nine, caught at slip off Beuran while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan returned to the dug-out for 36.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took Kohli’s scalp after the star batsman was holed out to the deep square-leg boundary, with Andile Phehlukwayo completing a sharp running catch.
Rabada took three wickets, including two in the final over, but gave away 39 runs from his four overs.
Bjorn Fortuin struck twice with his left-arm spin in the 13th over to dismiss Rishabh Pant for 19 and Shreyas Iyer for five as India slipped to 98 for six.
“I think we kept it nice and simple. Focused on hitting a good length. Our spinners kept it tight too,” said De Kock.
“Beuran bowled really well, he’s got the skills. Sometimes it’s better on these wickets to take the pace off.”
The two teams now head into a three-match Test series starting October 2 in Visakhapatnam.