India defeat South Africa to level series

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  • Post published:December 15, 2023

India cruised to a comfortable 106-run victory over South Africa in the third and final T20 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

After India were sent in to bat, Suryakumar made 100 in a total of 201 for seven.

South Africa were bowled out for 95 runs, with left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking five for 17 on his 29th birthday.

“We wanted to play a fearless brand of cricket. That was one box we wanted to tick – to put runs on the board and then defend it,” said Suryakumar at the post-match presentation when he was named player of the match and player of the series.

The Indian captain hit eight sixes and seven fours to complete his fourth T20 international century in 55 balls. He was caught at deep square leg off the next ball as India lost three wickets, including a run-out, in Lizaad Williams’ final over.

Suryakumar missed the majority of South Africa’s innings after twisting his left ankle while fielding in the third over.

Ravindra Jadeja, a left-arm spinner, took over as captain and played a key role in South Africa’s collapse, dismissing captain Aiden Markram for a hard-hit 25 with his first ball.

“It’s not that bad. I’m walking, so it’s all good,” Suryakumar said of the injury.

Mohammed Siraj’s maiden over to Reeza Hendricks set the tone for India’s bowling effort, with three slips in place for the last two balls of the over.

The spinners, however, caused the most havoc, with Jadeja taking two for 25 and Kuldeep ripping through the lower order, taking the last four wickets in seven balls.

Suryakumar and Yashasvi Jaiswal (60) punished the bowling in a fourth-wicket stand of 112 off 70 balls, but Jadeja and Kuldeep both gained turn and the occasional low bounce.

“Credit to the (Indian) batters for making it look easy for them,” said Markram.

Suryakumar came out to bat after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took two wickets in the third over. He took 23 balls to make his first 25 runs, but then unleashed his full arsenal of strokes, including leg-side sixes off good length balls.

On Sunday, the teams will begin a three-match one-day international series at the same venue.

Photo by Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix