India beat South Africa in 1st T20I: win by 8 wickets

Thiruvananthapuram: India beat South Africa by eight wickets in the first T20I today. Vice-captain KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav hit unbeaten fifties to give India an eight-wicket win over South Africa in the T20I series opener at the Greenfield International Stadium on Wednesday.

On a pitch that was made to entertain the fast bowlers, as evidenced by the five-wicket haul secured by Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar earlier in the match, South Africa’s bowlers also managed to get past Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli early on.

With the required run rate not very high, Rahul stuck in and with Suryakumar in star form, they put on an unbeaten stand of 93 off 63 balls to chase down 107 with 18 balls to spare, giving India a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The hosts were dealt an early blow when Kagiso Rabada’s peach in the second over lured Rohit Sharma into play and the thick blade went behind Quinton de Kock, who dived down the right to send the Indian skipper back for a two-ball duck.

After a powerplay that saw India make just 17/1, their lowest score in the six-over phase, Virat Kohli tried to cut a short wide ball from Henrich Nortier, only for the extra bounce to take the advantage behind de Kock. After jumping up and defending on his first ball, Suryakumar hit back-to-back sixes – a top edge on a pull that went over third man and a nonchalant shot went through backward square leg.

Rahul, who was kept quiet by a host of off-swingers and in-swingers apart from surviving close lbw calls from Parnell and Rabada, opened by flicking his wrists over long-on for a six off Norte, followed by Suryakumar hitting point for a four off Keshav Maharaj .

Rahul then pulled Tabraiz Shamsi over backward square leg for a six and Suryakumar ended the over with a hard wrister over deep mid-wicket for four. Suryakumar charmed the crowd with his signature shot when he lofted an inside-out twist over Maharaj.

A speedy full toss from Nortje was lofted over cover by Rahul for six, while Suryakumar slotted a slower ball through point for four as India started to cruise to victory.

Suryakumar continued to collect fours with ease against Rabada and reached his second consecutive fifty off 33 balls in the next over. On the very next ball, Rahul hit Shamsi over backward square leg to reach his fifty off 56 balls and complete the chase in style.

Brief Scores: South Africa 106/8 in 20 overs (Keshav Maharaj 41, Aidan Markram 25; Arshdeep Singh 3/32, Deepak Chahar 2/24) lost to India 110/2 in 16.4 overs (KL Rahul 51 not out, Suryakumar Yadav 50 not out; Kagiso Rabada 1/16, Anrich Nortje 1/32) with eight wickets.

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