Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan inspire India's Wanderers win

Shikhar Dhawan set the tone with a rapid half-century and Bhuvneshwar Kumar starred with the ball as India beat South Africa.

Published : Feb 18, 2018 22:43 IST

Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed a superb five-wicket haul and Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned a rapid half-century as India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty20 International at the Wanderers.

Dhawan played a big part in the tourists' emphatic 5-1 one-day international series win over the Proteas and the opener smashed 72 off only 39 balls - including two sixes and 10 fours - on Sunday, enabling his side to post 203-5.

That was India's highest T20 total against South Africa and the hosts fell short on 175/9 in the absence of AB de Villiers, ruled out of the series with a knee injury.

Reeza Hendricks (70 from 50) gave them hope with his maiden international half-century, but Bhuvneshwar finished with outstanding figures of 5-24 as India struck first in the three-match series.

Rohit Sharma set about Dane Paterson after JP Duminy opted to put India in, hitting a couple of sixes in a first over that cost 18 before debutant Junior Dala had him caught behind by Heinrich Klaasen - making his T20 bow for his country - for 21 in his opening over on the international stage.

Dala (2-47) struck again to remove the returning Suresh Raina, but the runs continued to flow for India, Dhawan in full flow as they raced to 78-2 at the end of the powerplay.

Virat Kohli tormented the South Africa bowlers in the ODI series, but fell for 26 but the boundaries kept coming for Dhawan, who struck a short ball from Tabraiz Shamsi to the ropes to reach his half-century before scooping Andile Phehlukwayo through to Klaasen.

Manish Pandey made an unbeaten 29 to take India past the 200 mark and Bhuvneshwar removed JJ Smuts and Duminy early in the run chase.

Dhawan then took a second towering catch in the deep to send the dangerous David Miller on his way when the left-hander tried to hit Hardik Pandya into the stands.

A fourth-wicket partnership of 81 between Hendricks and Farhaan Behardien (39 off 27) gave South Africa a chance, the opener bringing up his fifty off 37 balls.

Yuzvendra Chahal ended the stand by removing Behardien and India were on the brink of victory when four wickets fell in a superb 18th over from Bhuvneshwar, Hendricks falling caught behind from the first ball and Chris Morris departing for a golden duck.

Bhuvneshwar joined Chahal as only the second Indian to take five wickets in a T20 international as India, superb in the field, eased to victory with Kohli off the field as a precaution due to a hip injury.

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