South Africa have had very few reasons to celebrate since beating India 2-1 in the Test series. They suffered a crushing defeat in the ODI series and there were ominous signs when they were beaten comprehensively in the first of the three match T20I series at Johannesburg on Sunday.
However, South Africa turned things around quickly in the second T20I at Centurion on Wednesday as they levelled the series with a clinical six-wicket victory over the visitors. Although their bowling suffered once again, it was their batting that clicked in this match and got them over the line comfortably, chasing down a target of 189 runs with eight deliveries to spare. Here’s the report card of the South Africans for the match:
Heinrich Klaasen 10/10
The hosts wouldn't have probably been able to complete the chase on Wednesday if it wasn't for Klaasen's whirlwind innings of 69 runs off just 30 deliveries. Walking out to bat at No 4, Klaasen took on the Indian bowlers immediately, smashing them to all parts of Supersport Park. He was equally lethal on the pacers as he was on India's lone spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Klaasen's innings was mesmerising and it couldn't have come at a better place than Centurion, which is also his home ground. His innings consisted of a total of seven towering sixes and three fours. Although he departed in the 14th over with the hosts still requiring 58 runs, he had already given them an almighty push with such a knock. He was deservedly adjudged the Man of the Match.
JP Duminy 10/10
The South African skipper hasn't been in the best of form in recent times. He had looked totally out of sorts in the ODI series and also in the first T20I at Johannesburg. However, Duminy returned to form in style with a responsible knock of unbeaten 64 off just 40 deliveries at Centurion that guided his team to a comfortable victory. He played the second fiddle to Klaasen in their stand of 93 runs for the fourth wicket and then took charge of things when the latter departed. Duminy's knock consisted of a total of four fours and three sixes and showed how an ideal captain's knock looks like. He had also bowled a crucial spell of two overs giving away just 13 runs and claiming the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan.
Junior Dala 9.5/10
Dala has made a fabulous start to his T20I career with four wickets already in two matches. Although he proved to be quite expensive in the first match, he showed his skill on Wednesday as he returned figures of 2/28 in his four overs. Those two wickets included the priced scalps of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The two deliveries were very special in themselves with one being an in-swinger that trapped Rohit plumb in front of the stumps on the very first delivery he faced and the other being one that extracted some steep bounce from the surface and shaped away enough from Kohli to take his outside edge and nestle in the wicketkeeper's gloves. He maintained an economy of seven even though most of the other bowlers turned out to be expensive.
Reeza Hendricks 6/10
He had played a wonderful hand of 70 off 50 deliveries in the first T20I and looked in great touch once again in the second. He struck a total of five boundaries in the powerplay and kept the asking rate in check as other players struggled to find timing. His innings was cut short on 26 off 17 deliveries by a Slower delivery from Shardul Thakur in the fifth over of the innings.
Farhaan Behardien 6/10
Behardien played a small yet valuable knock of 16 runs off just 10 deliveries in a partnership of 58 runs with Duminy towards the end of the run chase. Moreover, he had also accounted for the dismissal of Dhawan with a nice and clean catch at mid-on off Duminy's bowling.
Andile Phehlukwayo 6/10
Phehlukwayo bowled just two overs out of his quota of four. But he gave away just 15 runs at an economy rate of 7.5 runs per over and also accounted for the crucial wicket of Suresh Raina, trapping him plumb in front of the stumps at a crucial stage of the match, reducing India to 90/4.
Jon-Jon Smuts 5/10
Although Smuts failed to produce anything meaningful with the bat, managing only two runs off 9 deliveries, he had bowled a valuable couple of overs in the Indian innings for just 15 runs at an economy rate of 7.5 runs. To put his efforts into perspective, India's net innings run rate was 9.4.
Chris Morris 2/10
The tall and lanky South African all-rounder had bowled an excellent first over in the Indian innings as he troubled Dhawan a lot. It was a maiden as well, but his fascination to bowl short cost him too much as he went for 42 runs in his four overs even though he bowled some really good deliveries.
Dane Paterson 1/10
Paterson looked clueless with the ball in this match. He bowled short, wide and kept getting hammered. Despite that, Duminy let him complete his quota of four overs, but Paterson turned out to be the most expensive of the South African bowlers, giving away 51 runs in his four overs.
Tabraiz Shamsi 1/10
Although Shamsi bowled well in the previous match, claiming the wicket of Kohli, he was taken to the cleaners by Manish Pandey in this match. His two overs costed South Africa a total of 23 runs.
David Miller 1/10
He had the chance to finish things off along with skipper Duminy. However, he was dismissed by Hardik Pandya for an individual score of five runs made of six deliveries. That wicket at that stage could have given India a foot in the door, but Behardien made sure that Duminy had a reliable partner at the other end.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor