IND vs SA, 2nd T20I: Klaasen 81 helps South Africa beat India for 2-0 lead

Wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen excelled on a tricky pitch in humid conditions to get his career best score and take South Africa to a four-wicket victory in the second T20I against India at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

Klaasen, who replaced an unfit Quinton de Kock, hammered a 46-ball 81, containing seven fours and five mighty sixes on both sides, as South Africa recovered from 29 for three to chase down 149 with 10 balls to spare and take 2-0 lead in the series.

After choosing to follow the successful template of the first match and restricting India to 148 for six, South Africa found itself in a tight spot.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar mixed his superb skills with immaculate precision to bowl three of the first six overs and captured three valuable wickets to leave South Africa tottering at 29 for three after the PowerPlay.

HIGHLIGHTS

The experienced Bhuvneshwar, who was used well by captain Rishabh Pant, moved the ball both ways and bowled Reeza Hendricks with an incoming delivery in the first over.

He cut the pace to make pinch-hitter Dwaine Pretorius ill-time a skier to deep midwicket in his second over and changed end to breach Rassie van der Dussen’s defence in his third.

South African skipper Temba Bavuma (35, 30b, 4×4, 1×6) took some calculated risks and improvised his shots to get his boundaries.

Klaasen, known for tormenting India in the past, again relied on his clean hitting and smart shot-selection to revive the South African innings with Bavuma. He punished Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel, who gave away 4, 6, 4 in a row, as India leaked 13 in the 11th over and 19 in the 12th.

Yuzvendra Chahal broke the 64-run stand when Bavuma failed to connect a pull shot. But the well-built Klaassen continued to unleash his strokes and took his team close to the target before holing out against Harshal Patel.

Earlier, the South African bowlers adapted to the conditions well and executed their plans to perfection. Its pacers quickly gauged the two-paced track on which an odd ball kept low. They bowled as a unit and mixed the length and pace nicely to disappoint a packed house.

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India lost opener Ruturaj Gaikwad to Kagiso Rabada in the first over. Ishan Kishan (34, 21b, 3×6, 2×4) continued with his good touch and contributed 29, predominantly with the help of pulled sixes, out of India’s 42 runs in the PowerPlay.

Ishan, who was dropped on 28, could not build on his start as he pulled a short ball from Nortje to deep midwicket.

Even as Pant and vice-captain Hardik fell cheaply, Shreyas Iyer (40, 35b, 2×4, 2×6) applied himself to work the ball around. Shreyas, who broke the shackles by stepping out and hammering Tabraiz Shamsi for a four and a six on either side, was caught behind off Pretorius.

Experienced finisher Dinesh Karthik (30 n.o., 21b, 2×4, 2×6) clubbed Nortje for two fours in the 19th over and Pretorius for two sixes in the final over, which produced 18 runs, to give the bowlers a target to defend.

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