South Africa 154 for 5 (Hendricks 49, Markram 30, Mukesh 2-34) beat India 180 for 7 (Rinku 68*, Suryakumar 56, Coetzee 3-32) by five wickets (DLS method)
Hendricks, who did not get a game at last year’s T20 World Cup and is South Africa’s leading run-scorer in the format this year, underlined his claim on the opener’s role with another authoritative knock. While Quinton de Kock, currently at the Abu Dhabi T20, will come into national contention for next year’s tournament, Hendricks’ latest efforts must secure him the other opener’s spot.
After finishing as the most successful first-powerplay bowler at the recent 50-over World Cup, Marco Jansen was back at it with the new ball in the shortest format. He found movement into the left-handed Yashasvi Jaiswal and beat the inside edge before banging in a short ball. Jaiswal could not get on top of the bounce as he tried to cut and hit it to David Miller at backward point, who took a diving catch to his left. Two balls later, exactly the same thing happened but with Tilak Varma attempting the shot. He sent it to Miller’s right and though he went for the ball with both hands he could not hold on. Tilak went on to share in a 49-run third-wicket stand with Suryakumar and hit four fours and a six before Jansen took the catch that dismissed him for 29.
SKY’s the limit
India lost both openers for ducks for only the second time in T20I history, and first since 2016, and it was up to stand-in captain Suryakumar to rebuild. He had luxury of watching for an over as Varma took Jansen apart in an 18-run third over and then got in on the act with two fours and a six in Coetzee’s 14-run fourth, including a signature flick for six over the wicketkeeper’s head. Suryakumar continued on to whip Lizaad Williams over deep midwicket for six, send an Andile Phehlukwayo slower ball over short fine, sweep Tabraiz Shamsi through square and hit Jansen off his pads and over Heinrich Klaasen. He brought up 50 off 29 balls, put on 70 with Rinku, and was set to bat through but was deceived by a Shamsi googly and hit it to long-off to depart in the 14th over.
Rinku breaks through the glass ceiling (sort of)
He’d already scored his first T20I fifty, off 30 balls, and kept India’s run-rate between eight and nine runs an over but with only two boundaries between the 16th and 18th overs, he wanted to finish with a flourish. He hit the penultimate ball of Aiden Markam’s last over over long-on and into the stands and then charged down the track to meet the last delivery and send the ball over Markram’s head and into the press-box window. The media area at St George’s Park is lower than at any of South Africa’s other venues – so his effort was not so much impressive for height as it was for accuracy and power. The glass has not been broken at that venue too often, but Rinku sent a spiderweb shattering through it to make his case to the Indian selectors.
Put a slip in it
Mohammed Siraj started with one slip in place and immediately found Hendricks’ outside edge. The problem was that the chance went in the direction of where a second slip would have been and then snuck under Mukesh Kumar at deep third for four. Hendricks steered the next ball in the same area for a single. The next ball found Matthew Breetzke’s edge but fell short of first slip to get him off strike and Hendricks then calmed things down with a drive through mid-off. Surykakumar sensed something was coming and put a second slip in, Siraj bowled it wide, Hendricks flashed and edged again. The problem was that the chance went where third slip would have been and beat deep third for four more. The over ended with a straighter delivery and a warning. Siraj was hunting the edge but he had to wait until the 10th over to continue his quest.
India fight back – a little too late
Hendricks’ dismissal was sandwiched inbetween Markram not getting enough on a shot he hoped would carry over deep square leg and Heinrich Klaasen pulling Siraj to wide long-on as South Africa lost 3 for 12 in nine balls. If there was a time for India to take back some control, that was it. Kuldeep Yadav bowled a boundary-less third over, Siraj found another edge as a chance off David Miller evaded first slip and then was at deep backward square to take the catch when Miller hit Mukesh Kumar in that area, but South Africa were batting deep. New Test squad member Stubbs and Phehlukwayo saw it through to delight a near-full St George’s Park crowd.