After the first game was sacrificed to the rain gods, India and South Africa squared the three-match T20I series 1-1 courtesy a couple of fabulous captain knocks from both sides. Virat Kohli’s outrageous exhibition of classy strokeplay in Mohali and Quinton de Kock’s man of the series-winning display in his first series as captain were the two biggest takeaways.
Beuran Hendricks put on a brilliant show in Bengaluru alongside Kagiso Rabada put South Africa in firm control after the first innings. Quinton de Kock carried the momentum forward and helped the Proteas register a comfortable 9-wicket win, setting things up beautifully for the Test series.
Here’s the best-combined XI from this series
1. Quinton de Kock (C)
The first assignment as a captain, got it checked with a sumptuous knock when it mattered. Quinton de Kock showed great temperament while leading the side and was pretty much spot on with his bowling changes and field sets. This performance will make the selectors breath a little more normally, especially after a stretch of poor performances.
Even in the first encounter in Mohali, he scored a timely half-century and led the side by example. If captaincy is not hampering his batting performances much, this could be the beginning of a very memorable era for the Safaris.
With 131 runs at a strike-rate of 147.19, there was definitely no debate as to who will take the man of the series title. The 26-year-old is also completed 1,000 runs in T20Is during the Bengaluru fixture, making him the second-fastest to reach the landmark among all wicket-keepers.
2. Shikhar Dhawan
The Indian stalwart got a couple of good starts but failed to convert them into anything big. Shikhar Dhawan looked in fine touch with his strokeplay and in both games, he gave the side a very strong start. Unfortunately, he couldn’t carry his innings to a level where it could’ve had a better impact.
Dhawan registered 76 runs in these two fixtures and had some quintessential Gabbar moments throughout. Although the series didn’t go as per the plans of the Indians, the southpaw in good touch will mean the other opening contenders will have to wait longer.
3. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli and Mohali go hand-in-hand towards scripting beautiful batting tales and the second T20I on Wednesday was no different. Once again, the master of white ball cricket was at his classy best, playing some mind-boggling cricketing shots which saw India storm past a tricky total nonchalantly.
Kohli remained unbeaten on 72 off 52 deliveries, which included four boundaries and three big sixes as India won by 7 wickets with an over remaining. Kagiso Rabada got the better of him in the third game, which saw his run-tally finish with 81 runs. He will be eager to continue the good form into the Test series as well.
4. Temba Bavuma
For a long period of time, Temba Bavuma has been in and around the side as a promising talent. Perhaps this is the time for him to get out of those shoes and start taking bigger responsibilities and his performance in this series could be a good start for what is to come later on. Bavuma played a couple of great second-fiddles to De Kock in these two games.
After a valiant 49 off 43 deliveries in the Mohali game, he helped his skipper see the game through in Bengaluru, piling up a 23-ball 27. His assured presence in the middle will come in very handy in the coming years, especially with a lot of senior players heading towards the retirement doors.
5. Shreyas Iyer
With every passing series, fans keep putting more pressure on the Indian team to give Shreyas Iyer the chance he deserves to take the number four spot. Once again, Rishabh Pant was preferred above the Mumbaikar and once again, the move didn’t pay its dividends.
Iyer couldn’t get a lot of time to spend in the middle in Mohali but hit the winning runs. Something more was expected from him in the final game, but he misread Fortuin’s delivery and got stumped for just five. Perhaps the time has come for Kohli to give him the position he wants and show he’s the best bet in that position for the team.
6. David Miller
Perhaps the only name in this side who’s been with South Africa for more than seven years, David Miller had a huge responsibility of guiding youngsters in the side. He got going in the last few overs of the Mohali game but could score just one six.
He didn’t get to bat in the final fixture. Miller is someone who always makes his presence felt in the field and he took an absolute blinder of a catch at long-on to dismiss the Indian explosive opener Shikhar Dhawan at PCA Stadium, Mohali.
The ball was traveling flat towards the boundary before Miller flew like a bird to snap it single-handedly. For that one catch, he gets a place in this XI.
7. Hardik Pandya
India’s most highly rated all-rounder currently, Hardik Pandya had his share of good moments in the World Cup. His bowling has been improving every game and is beginning to hit the 140 kph mark more frequently these days. Even when he’s a little expensive, he’s always among the wickets and manages to stay in limelight.
He picked up David Miller’s wicket in Mohali and picked up the only wicket which fell during South Africa’s run-chase in Bengaluru. With the bat, he struggled in the final few overs against the brilliance of Rabada and eventually, it was the South African who held the upper hand.
8. Beuran Hendricks
Beuran Hendricks was not a part of the XI in the second match but made a huge impact when it mattered. The left-arm pacer used all the tricks he’s got up his sleeves to pocket the Indian batsmen and ended up winning the man of the match award in Bengaluru.
Hendricks picked up two crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma in the powerplay and Krunal Pandya in his second spell. He gave away just 14 runs in his four overs and conceded no boundaries in the two overs he bowled towards the death. All of his variations hit the bullseye on the day and reaped the perfect reward for it.
9. Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar took a lot of time to reach the highest level since that amazing FC debut of his in 2010, but now he is beginning to churn out good bowling performances pretty much every time with the new ball.
His outstanding control with the new ball is giving a hard time for the best of batsmen. Chahar was outstanding in Mohali, where he picked up 2 wickets and gave just 22 runs his 4 overs. He dismissed Reeza Hendricks and Temba Bavuma.
He gave away just 15 runs in 3 overs in the third T20I and finished the series with an economy under 5.5. The selectors cannot keep his aside for long if he keeps the level of performances so high.
10. Bjorn Fortuin
Bjorn Fortuin made a brilliant impression in his first-ever international assignment. The 24-year-old left-arm spinner was handy in the middle overs for Quinton de Kock and was pretty economical in both games. Apart from conceding a six and a four in the 19th over in Mohali, the Indian batsmen found it difficult to strike him away.
Fortuin remained consistent with his lines and a little assistance from the track helped as well. He picked up two important wickets in the third game of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer and also opened the bowling. With Imran Tahir quitting the international stage, this was a great way to announce his availability to the selectors.
11. Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada definitely qualifies as one of the finest fast bowlers in the last three years and his graph has only been growing. The 24-year-old wasn’t as good at the ICC World Cup a couple of months ago, which impacted his team’s performance in the tournament quite adversely. He’s been keen on making amendments ever since.
Rabada was taken for some runs in Bengaluru but picked up three prized-scalps. After sending skipper Virat Kohli before he could get into his zone, he dismissed the dangerous Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja which prevented them from giving India a good finish. He didn’t pick any wickets in the second game.
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