India and South Africa took their rivalry to the shortest format of international cricket, with the first T20I of the three match series at Johannesburg.
South African captain JP Duminy won the toss and elected to chase on a ground notorious for helping the teams batting second. In shocking news it was disclosed that AB de Villiers was ruled out of the T20I series against India due to a knee injury. Meanwhile, Suresh Raina made his comeback into the Indian team and Kuldeep Yadav missed out due to an injured thumb from the sixth ODI.
Rohit Sharma started off with a bang as he hit Dane Paterson for two sixes and a four in the first over, taking 18 runs in the first over. However, debutant Junior Dala removed Sharma (21 in 9 balls; 2x4s, 2x6s) for his first wicket in T20I cricket. Suresh Raina scored a quick-fire 15 off 7 balls on his comeback and batting at no.3; however, he became the second victim of Junior Dala.
But Shikhar Dhawan (72 off 39 balls; 10x4s, 2x6s) and contributions from Virat Kohli (26) and Manish Pandey (29*off 27 balls) kept India in hunt of a big total. But South African bowlers pulled it back with the wicket of Kohli, when India was 108 in the 10th over.
India never got the big shots going in the last few overs despite the presence of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, though both hit two boundaries each, but the huge sixes were nowhere to be found. India ended up at 203/5, there highest T20I score against South Africa.
Junior Dala picked 2/47 on his T20I debut for South Africa and Shamsi picked the important wicket of dangerous Virat Kohli.
South Africa came out all guns blazing, but Bhuvneshwar hit back with quick wickets of JJ Smuts and JP Duminy. Reeza Hendricks hit 70 off (50 balls 8 fours and 1 six), and Behardien (39 with 3 fours and 2 sixes) tried to wrest back the advantage from India. But Chahal removed Behardien, and Bhuvneshwar removed Hendricks in quick succession and with it the hopes of Proteas win went up in smokes.
They finished on 175/9 at the end of 20 overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers with 5/24 and was named the Player of the Match for his effort.
India won the match by 28 runs and went 1-0 up in the three match series.
IND 203/5 (S DHAWAN 72; J DALA 2/47) defeated SA 175/9 (R HENDRICKS 70; B KUMAR 5/24) by 28 runs.