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Kohli’s experiment backfires 

bengaluru, september 22

India captain Virat Kohli’s bold move to bat first boomeranged as Quinton de Kock (79*) spearheaded South Africa’s chase for a series-levelling nine-wicket win in the third T20I. 

Kohli opted to bat after winning the toss on a flat track, known to favour teams chasing in the shortest format. Initially, though, the decision seemed to have worked as India raced to 54/1 in six overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. 

The departure of Shikhar Dhawan gave the South Africans an opening, and they grabbed it with both hands, snuffing out eight wickets for just 71 runs.

Complete control

In their chase, South Africa captain de Kock looked in complete control as he struck six fours and five sixes in his unbeaten knock of 79 runs. He added 76 runs for the first wicket with Reeza Hendricks in 10 overs and then put on another 64 with Temba Bavuma. In the fourth over, de Kock cut loose by hitting Navdeep Saini for two sixes, and there was no looking back. 

Earlier, India were stopped at 134/9 by a disciplined South African attack. Top-scorer Dhawan blazed away to a 25-ball 36 and got India off to a brisk start that yielded 54 runs in the first six overs. Kagiso Rabada was expensive but picked up three wickets, while there were two apiece for Bjorn Fortuin (2/19) and Beuran Hendricks (2/14).

Playing in his first game of the series, Beuran Hendricks was the team’s best bowler as he choked run flow in the middle overs along with left-arm spinner Fortuin. 

Rohit Sharma got out early but he did put pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada under pressure straightaway, striking him for two boundaries in his first over — one over cover and the other through extra cover. Rohit’s dismissal brought crowd favourite Kohli in the middle but Dhawan, who began the innings with a boundary, was in charge and welcomed leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi with back-to-back sixes. Going for one too many, Dhawan mistimed Shamsi, who had his revenge after Temba Bavuma completed a neat catch. 

Kohli followed suit as Andile Phehlukwayo pulled off a fine running catch in the deep, much to the relief of Rabada.

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