India continued their winning run with a clinical 8-wicket against South Africa in the 1st T20I at Thiruvananthapuram to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss on Wednesday (September 28) and opted to bowl first on a pitch which resembled a green top. Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh, the two Indian new ball bowlers, produced an impeccable opening spell by taking full advantage of the pitch's assistance.
Chahar and Arshdeep’s opening spell saw 5 South African batters bite the dust before the end of the third over. Aiden Markram and Wayne Parnell put on a 33-run stand as the visitors were floundering at 9/5 before the former was dismissed for a valiant 25 off 24 balls.
The team's total reached 106/8 thanks to Keshav Maharaj's valorous performance, 41 off 35 balls in the slog overs.
In reply, India lost the wickets of Rohit Sharma (0) and Virat Kohli (3) early. But KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav’s match-winning partnership took the team over the line with 8 wickets to spare.
“When you play a game like that you learn a lot. It was nice to play a game like that. We knew there will be something for the bowlers, but not through the 20 overs we bowled. It was sticky, there was still dampness, and it stayed throughout. There was no sun so it makes it difficult to hit. Both teams were in the contest,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
“We got wickets upfront, and that was the turning point. No matter what the conditions, you still have to execute your plans. When you swing the ball like that any batter will struggle. 107, we knew it was not going to be that easy. We got to respect the conditions at times, understand what shots can be played,” he added.
Rahul, who made sure to hold down the fort at the other end, hit 51* off 56 balls, while Yadav batting with much more flair, struck 50* off 33 balls.
Rohit stated that the 93-run partnership between Suryakumar and Rahul was crucial after they lost two early wickets.
Arshdeep was adjudged as the player of the match for his scintillating figures of 4-0-32-3.
The 2nd T20I will be played on Sunday (October 2) in Guwahati.
(STAR SPORTS INPUTS)