VISAKHAPATNAM, India (AP) — Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal shared seven wickets as India beat South Africa by 48 runs in the third Twenty20 on Tuesday to stay alive in the five-match series.
Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) scored attacking fifties to take India to 179-5 (20 overs). Thereafter, Patel took 4-25 and Chahal returned 3-20 as the duo helped bowl out South Africa for 131 (19.1 overs).
South Africa, which won the first two matches, won the toss and opted to field. India made a superb start with both openers scoring half-centuries.
Gaikwad and Kishan put on 97 off 60 balls for the first wicket. The duo scored at 10/over and India continued that scoring rate despite losing Gaikwad to Keshav Maharaj (1-24).
Kishan hit five fours and two sixes during his 35-ball stay, while Gaikwad roared back to form with seven fours and two sixes off his 35 balls.
Kishan and Shreyas Iyer (14) put on 29 runs for the second wicket as the high scoring rate persisted.
Thereafter, India suffered a collapse, losing three wickets in the space of 17 balls. Iyer, Kishan and Rishabh Pant (6) all fell to expansive strokes as the hosts went from 128-1 to 143-4.
Dwaine Pretorius snapped both Kishan and Pant, as the left-handed duo was caught in the deep playing imbalanced aerial shots.
Hardik Pandya, though, enjoyed a life when David Miller dropped him on 1 not out. Tabraiz Shamsi (1-36) was the bowler, who had previously dismissed Iyer.
Pandya went on to hit 31 not out off 21 balls, including four fours. It helped India reach a competitive total on a slowing wicket despite Dinesh Karthik’s (6) cheap dismissal.
Chasing 180 to seal the series, South Africa’s reply never got off the blocks. India’s spinners came to the fore for the first time in the series.
Chahal and Axar Patel (1-28) accounted for 4-48 in eight overs to bamboozle the opposition. Only three Proteas batsmen breached the 20-run mark.
Temba Bavuma (8) was the first to go, caught off Patel in the fourth over. Patel struck crucial blows across his 3.1 overs, first dismissing Reeza Hendricks (23).
South Africa was down to 40-3 in seven overs as Chahal dismissed Rassie van der Dussen (1).
The leg spinner then ran through the Proteas’ middle order with clever variation in pace and spin. He had Pretorius (20) caught behind, while Heinrich Klaasen (29) holed out later in the 15th over.
In between, Patel dismissed Miller (3) as South Africa collapsed to 71-5 in 11 overs for the chase to nearly become inconsequential.
Patel’s four-wicket haul was his best for India in T20 cricket.
“Our plans hadn’t worked out in the last two games," Patel said. “I was bowling slower deliveries too early in the spell. So I tried to rectify that. It was a pressure situation for us and we had to respond. But we didn’t let the pressure get to our performance today.”
Klaasen hit three fours and a six off 24 balls but was not able to resurrect the innings.
The Proteas had won the first match in Delhi by seven wickets and then the second game in Cuttack by four wickets.
The fourth match will be played in Rajkot on Friday.
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