Odisha Sun Times Sports Bureau
Cuttack, Oct 5:
Hosts India made a complete mess of their chance to level the T20 series with South Africa with a disastrous batting performance getting all out for a paltry 92 in 17.2 overs, leaving the capacity crowd at the iconic Barabati stadium in Odisha’s Millennium City thoroughly disappointed.
South Africa were well on course to victory having scored 57 for 3 after 10 overs when reports last came in, R Ashwin taking all three wickets to fall. But with his four-over quota having already come to an end, India need nothing short of a miracle to win the match now.
India were pegged back with two run-outs at the start of the innings that saw Rohit Sharma, the century-maker in the first match at Dharmashala, and star batsman Virat Kohli sent back to the pavilion with scores of 22 and 1.
The hosts never really recovered from the early setback as batsman after batsman perished in trying to force the pace. Other than Rohit, only Suresh Raina with 22 and Shikhar Dhawan and R Ashwin with 11 each got into double figures. In what was a telling commentary on the listless batting performance, Mr Extras scored 11.
Comeback man Albie Morkel took the bowling honours scalping three wickets in his four miserly overs costing all of 12 runs. Imran Tahir and Chris Morris took two wickets each and K Rabada one.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bowl against India during the second of the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket series at the Barabati Stadium here on Monday.
India have replaced pacer Sreenath Aravind with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, while experienced all-rounder Albie Morkel comes in place of seamer Merchant de Lange for the visitors.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni(captain), Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma.
South Africa: AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (captain), Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Albie Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, Imran Tahir.