India’s win on Saturday continued their excellent record in deciders of three-match T20I series.
INDIA v SRI LANKA 2015-16
It was Sri Lanka who started the three-match series in India with a bang, winning the first T20I by five wickets. The hosts bounced back with a 69-run win at Ranchi to tie the series at 1-1.
In the series decider at Visakhapatnam, Ravichandran Ashwin’s four-wicket haul helped India bowl out Sri Lanka for just 82 runs in 18 overs. India then chased down the total comfortably, winning the match by nine wickets to clinch the series.
ZIMBABWE v INDIA 2016
A new-look Indian side were stunned by their African hosts in the first T20I at Harare as they went down by two runs while chasing 171. MS Dhoni’s men made amends for that loss in the subsequent match, thrashing the hosts by 10 wickets after restricting them to 99 in their 20 overs.
In the series decider at Harare, India were restricted to 138-6 before Zimbabwe scripted a spirited chase, only to fall three runs short of the target in a frantic finish.
INDIA v ENGLAND 2016-17
Like in previous instances, this series too started with a loss for India as England romped to a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the first match at Kanpur.
The hosts squared the series with a five-run win at Nagpur, making the final T20I at Bengaluru a straight shootout for the trophy.
India were simply too good for Eoin Morgan’s men in the decider with Dhoni’s and Suresh Raina’s fifties helping them post 202 on the board. In reply, the visitors could manage only 127 after Yuzvendra Chahal picked up 6-25.
INDIA v NEW ZEALAND 2017-18
This time, India started the series on the front foot with a 53-run win at New Delhi before the Black Caps bounced back with an equally convincing 40-run victory at Rajkot to set up the series nicely for the final T20I at Thiruvananthapuram.
There, bad weather reduced the match to eight overs per side. In a very tight game, India prevailed by six runs after setting New Zealand a target of 68.
SOUTH AFRICA v INDIA 2018
The most recent one, India carried momentum from the ODI series to record a 28-run win in the first T20I before Heinrich Klaasen helped South Africa square the series with an emphatic six-wicket win at Centurion.
The hosts ran India close while chasing a daunting target of 173 in the decider but ultimately fell short by seven runs.
Indian captain Virat Kohli refused to bask in his team’s success in South Africa as he received the International Cricket Council Test championship mace for the second year running.
Somewhat incongruously, the mace was presented to Kohli on Saturday at the end of a triumphant limited overs campaign. India won a one-day international series 5-1 and a Twenty20 series 2-1.
Perhaps it was a reminder to Kohli that second-ranked South Africa had won a Test series at the start of the tour.
“I’d say we are still 80 percent,” Kohli said of the Test team as he looked forward to major challenges in tours of England and Australia later this year.
“When we are able to achieve what we want to in the two tours, we’ll be more content. But our 80 percent is also exciting. To be a world-class side, you have to be 100 percent.”
Although the cut-off date for the ICC rankings only comes in April, India cannot be overtaken. Apart from the mace and the glory India will collect $1 million in prize money.
Kohli leaves South Africa having dazzled with his batting artistry and his no-holds-barred captaincy style.
It is doubtful whether any visiting captain in modern times has made a greater impact than Kohli, who stated on arrival that his India team feared no opposition nor any conditions. “We look at the pitch and adapt to the conditions,” he said. “Every game is a home game. It’s as simple as that.”
His early press conference set the tone for the tour. Articulate, occasionally combative with journalists who challenged, for instance, his selection policies, Kohli stayed true to his mantra of playing positive cricket and not taking a backward step.
He did not complain about the seam-friendly Test pitches prepared for South Africa’s fast bowlers, even though ICC match referee Chris Broad rated the pitches for the first two Tests “average” and his successor Andy Pycroft condemned the pitch used for the third Test at the Wanderers as “poor”.
Kohli’s response was that sub-standard pitches helped his bowlers as much as they helped the South Africans. Although India lost the first two Tests, they were competitive in both and made the best of the worst conditions by winning the third Test.
Then they outclassed South Africa in the white ball games.
Kohli was the leading run-scorer for either side in both the Tests and one-day games. He showed resolve, sound technique and courage in difficult conditions in the Tests, scoring 286 runs, including the only century of the series, at an average of 47.66.
He exploded on more batsmen-friendly pitches in the one-dayers, striking a world record bilateral series total of 558 runs at a staggering average of 186.00, scoring at a fraction under a run a ball.
His teammates responded to Kohli’s example. The bowlers, in particular, were outstanding. Given his chance in the Tests, Jasprit Bumrah showed he was much more than a good one-day bowler, while Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar all troubled the South African batsmen.
In the one-day games, India’s gambit of picking two wrist spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal proved a master stroke.
Kohli’s form obscured flaws in the rest of the Indian batting. None of the other specialist batsmen averaged 30 in the Tests but Shikhar Dhawan shone in the one-day matches. Rohit Sharma managed a single impressive innings, a century in the fifth one-day international after Kohli was out for 36, his lowest score of the series.
Virat Kohli missed the third and final T20 against South Africa but India still maintained their intensity to prevail by seven runs and win the series 2-1 and cap a successful tour of South Africa.
Batting first on a tricky Cape Town wicket, India took their time to get going before useful contributions from Shikhar Dhawan (47) and Suresh Raina (43) helped India post 172-7.
In reply, India seamers tied the South African batsmen down and despite a fighting 55 from captain JP Duminy and a whirlwind 49 from 24 balls from Christiaan Jonker, the hosts could only reach 165-6.
India thus finished the tour on a high with a 5-1 ODI series win under their belt which came after a 2-1 defeat in a hard-fought Test series.
Here is a quick wrap up of India’s series clinching win in Cape Town
INDIA MAKE CHANGES
Captain Kohli missed the deciding match due to a stiff back. In his place, Rohit Sharma led the team. India made other changes to the side, with Jasprit Bumrah coming in for Jaydev Unadkat, Dinesh Karthik coming in for Kohli and left-arm spinner Axar Patel replacing leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
#TeamIndia Playing XI for the decider game. Virat Kohli misses out due to a stiff back. Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah are three changes for #TeamIndia #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/n2X7mSOHLd— BCCI (@BCCI) February 24, 2018
SLOW START BY DHAWAN
After Rohit Sharma was trapped lbw by pacer Junior Dala, fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan struggled to raise the tempo. He scored his first boundary in the 13th over of India’s innings but once he got his timing going, he hit two more boundaries before getting out for 47 off 40 balls.
RAINA PLAYS A GEM OF AN INNINGS
All-rounder Suresh Raina smashed the first ball he faced from Dala over fine leg for a six. He made use of the crease and made up for the struggling Dhawan by hitting 43 off 27 balls. His sparkling knock ultimately proved to be the winning factor.
PANDYA DRIES UP THE RUNS
While Hardik Pandya the batsman has not been as consistent as hoped, Pandya the bowler has gone from strength to strength. His spell of 1-22 from four overs was absolute gold as it pushed the Proteas almost out of the game. Using slower ones and cutters extensively, Pandya troubled every South African batsman and when he was done, the hosts needed 94 from 42 balls.
JONKER NEARLY PULLS IT OFF
Before the match started, not many would have heard of Christiaan Jonker. But by the end of the match, 31-year-old made sure every Indian player and franchise owner across the world would remember his name as he hit 49 from 24 balls, with five fours and two sixes, under extreme pressure to take his team to within one hit of an improbable win. It was only another superb final over – with 19 needed- by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-24 from four overs) that denied Jonker glory.