Spurred on by a superb powerplay with the ball on a sluggish wicket at Cape Town, India raced to a seven-run win over the hosts in the final match of the tour and took home the T20I trophy winning the series 2-1. While the batsmen in the absence of Virat Kohli — save for Suresh Raina — weren't totally convincing, India roared back with the ball to grab a convincing win although Christiaan Jonker's antics on debut did create some heart-in-the-mouth moments. Here is India's report card from the final match of the series.
Rohit Sharma — 2/10
Rohit Sharma vs Junior Dala quickly turned into a one-sided contest as the South African seamer dismissed Rohit yet another time (the third in this series in as many games). Rohit, who began with some punchy strokes off Chris Morris in a 13 run first over, looked all at sea against the ball coming into him from Dala and once again played all around it, as he has been doing all series, to be trapped in front. More than his scores, the manner of dismissals would worry the Indians.
Shikhar Dhawan — 6/10
Despite top-scoring with 47, Dhawan doesn't ace the report card for the simple fact that he forgot he was playing a T20 game. With his timing off on a wicket where the ball wasn't coming onto the bat, Dhawan failed to keep the bowlers out, let alone score boundaries. He had zero hits to or over the fence until the 12th over of the innings as he crawled along at a strike rate of less than hundred for a major part of his innings. With Kohli absent and Rohit dismissed early, India needed the Gabbar to launch a counter-attack. He fell to a brilliant piece of fielding from Dala.
Suresh Raina — 9/10
Armed with the license to express himself, Raina had got starts this series but could not quite replicate what he had done for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL few years back. At Cape Town, with India having lost Rohit, Raina blasted a 27-ball 43 studded with five hits to the fence and one over it off the first ball he faced. The manner in which he has snugly fit into the T20I side on return with eye-catching performances like these and his ability to turn the arm when required could prompt the selectors to give him a longer run.
Manish Pandey — 3/10
Coming off the back of a belligerent half-century, India had quite a few hopes pinned on Pandey, particularly in the absence of Kohli. He began with a miscued shot for six that just about cleared the ropes but could not last long enough to inflict further damage. A well directed short ball from Dala saw him wildly pull to David Miller.
Hardik Pandya — 8/10
Pandya did not have the greatest of starts to the decider as he struggled to score boundaries with the bat, making a 17-ball 21 as India ambled along to 172. But he roared back with the ball in four tight overs, giving away a miserly 22 runs and picking up the vital scalp of Heinrich Klaasen in the process. He completed his quota of overs by the 13th over when South Africa were struggling to score and had made runs at just six an over.
MS Dhoni — 2/10
Dhoni walked in after Dhawan was run-out in the 16th over but couldn't quite get going on a sluggish wicket against some tight death bowling. He smashed Dala for a boundary before skying him to long-off next ball to end a disappointing innings.
Dinesh Karthik — 7/10
Karthik faced just six deliveries late in the innings but appeared in sublime touch, smashing three boundaries, all well thought out shots right from the word go. His intelligent batting gave India some much needed impetus, if only a little, late in the innings.
Axar Patel — 1/10
The decision to play Axar over Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav seemed pretty bizarre to begin with, and the left-arm spinner proved that it wasn't the smartest of moves when he bowled unimaginatively and fed JP Duminy with skiddish arm balls. The South African skipper tonked him for two sixes in a 16-run over, which turned out to be Axar's only over in the game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar — 9/10
The exceptional Bhuvneshwar sent down a superb opening spell that virtually sealed the contest for India. He had Reeza Hendricks and Miller tied down with his immaculate lines and movement away from the right-hander, conceding just 13 runs in an opening spell of three overs. He returned to ball the all-important last over with Jonker on fire and nervelessly did the job for India. He was rightly adjudged the Man of the Series.
Shardul Thakur — 6/10
Like Bhuvneshwar, Thakur started off pretty well, bowling tidy lines and cramping South Africa's openers for room. He returned to send back the well-set Duminy much to the relief of the Indians but spoiled his figures with an 18-run over against a rampant Jonker that got South Africa back into the game for a bit.
Jasprit Bumrah — 5/10
Returning to the playing XI, Bumrah bowled a two-run over opening alongside Bhuvneshwar but returned to bowl only in the 15th over where he got rid of Morris but couldn't quite nail his slower balls and yorkers. Duminy, Farhaan Behardien and Jonker found the boundary rope often in his death overs as Bumrah failed to hit the mark.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor
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