Mumbai: India made a brave effort to overhaul South Africa's tall score of 196 for eight, but finally fell short by four runs to lose their ICC World T20 warm-up cricket game at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing the 197-run target set by the Proteas, India recovered from a poor start through a partnership of 94 runs between left-handers Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (41).
After both Dhawan and Raina left the field, retiring voluntarily, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (30 not out off 16 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (16 not out off 8) whittled down the target from 43 in 18 balls to 14 in the last over before India ended up at 192 for three, to lose their first game after eight successive wins.
Earlier, left-handed batsmen Quinton de Kock (56) and Jean Paul Duminy (67) flourished with attractive knocks for South Africa.
India made a dismal start to the stiff run-chase by losing their two in-form top order batsmen Rohit Sharma (10) and Virat Kohli (1) cheaply inside three overs with only 16 runs on the card.
Sharma, who had cracked an unbeaten 98 in the 45-run win over the West Indies in the team's opening warm-up game in Kolkata two days ago, hit a flat-six with a step-out slash off Dale Steyn but then was trapped plumb in front by Kyle Abbott in the second over.
Kohli, who did not play in Kolkata, tried to slog Steyn and edged to keeper de Kock to leave India in dire straights.
Dhawan, riding his luck initially, and Ajinkya Rahane (11) revived the innings with a brief stand of 32 before the latter was dismissed by Imran Tahir with a googly in the over after power play ended.
This brought together two left handers to the crease and Dhawan, now more assured, and Raina staged a fine rescue act by adding 94 runs to keep the Indian run-rate on par with their rivals'.
Raina pulled and glided Chris Morris for successive hits to the fence and then smashed spinner Aaron Phangiso over the mid wicket fence.
Soon after, Dhawan completed his half ton off the 35th ball he faced, and then came the very productive 13th over from David Wiese as Raina hit him for a six and four.
At the end of the 13th over, India were 121 for three and after the 15th, the hosts needed 60 runs for victory.
When India were 142 for three after 16 overs, both the batsmen retired to the pavilion after adding 94 runs in 59 balls to leave skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh to take the side past the finish line.
Requiring 43 in 18 balls, Dhoni hit Steyn for a six and a four in successive balls and two doubles to bring down the target by 15 runs in the 18th over at the end of which India needed 28 runs.
But Yuvraj could not get going full tilt in the 19th and India fell short of the target after needing six off the last ball.
Earlier opting to bat first, the Proteas lost two early wickets before de Kock, who made a quick-fire half century in 33 balls before retiring, and Duminy feasted well on the Indian offerings.
Watched by a huge crowd of over 25,000, India did well in the first four overs by sending back opener Hashim Amla and captain Faf du Plessis with 33 on the board.
But a very expensive fifth over from Bumrah, in which he conceded 20 runs inclusive of four fours, followed by the 12 runs conceded in the next by Harbhajan Singh set the hosts back quite a bit.
At the end of the first six-over power play, the Proteas had hit their way to 67 for two.
De Kock and Duminy then put on 77 runs for the third wicket, quite comfortably and at a brisk rate to get the innings back on track.
Hardik Pandya grabbed three wickets for 33 runs, including two in one over, while Bumrah (2 for 51) and Shami (2 for 37) were the other wicket takers.
India, who open their World T20 campaign in Nagpur on 15 March with the Super 10 clash against New Zealand, did not field Ravichandran Ashwin and Ashish Nehra for the warm-up clash.
First Published On : Mar 13, 2016 11:11 IST