When two talented strokemakers decide to put on a show for a near full-house, there isn’t much a fielding side can do.
South Africa was at the receiving end of a spectacular display of batting by Ishan Kishan (93, 84b, 4x4, 7x6) and Shreyas Iyer (113 not out, 111b, 15x4) at the JSCA Stadium on a pleasant Sunday night. Riding on their 161-run stand for the third wicket, India won the second ODI to level the three-match series.
The host was set a target of 279. It was achieved with ridiculous ease, with 4.1 overs and seven wickets to spare.
Before the Iyer-Kishan show began, there was a teaser from opener Shubman Gill, who was looking in ominous touch before he fell to a superb, low return catch to Kagiso Rabada.
Iyer and Kishan tore into a quality attack. Kishan, playing in front of his home crowd, went after the bowlers after getting his eye in. He was severe on the spinners and didn’t spare the quicks - even the express pace of Anrich Nortje, whom he smashed for successive sixes on the leg-side.
He was unlucky to find the fielder near the deep midwicket boundary, though, when he was seven short of a maiden ODI hundred. Shreyas, however, went on to complete his second ODI hundred, and take India home in the company of Sanju Samson.
The South African innings was built on an attractive 129-run partnership for the third wicket between Reeza Hendricks (74, 76b, 9x4, 1x6) and Aiden Markram (79, 89b, 7x4, 1x6).
They came together at the fall of Janneman Malan, who was found to be leg-before-wicket to debutant Shahbaz Ahmed when the original decision was reviewed.
Shahbaz was one of the two changes India made from the team that played the first ODI at Lucknow, the other being Washington Sundar; they replaced Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravi Bishnoi.
South Africa made three changes, as Hendricks, Nortje and Bjorn Fortuin came in for skipper Temba Bavuma, Tabraiz Shamsi and Lungi Ngidi.
Bavuma and Shamsi were unwell, the stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj said.
Siraj was the pick of the Indian bowlers. His final spell was exceptional and it was one of the reasons why South Africa failed to accelerate towards the end despite being set up nicely by Hendricks and Markram. The duo paced their innings well and played some delightful strokes.
India came up with a much-improved display in the field too while captain Shikhar Dhawan shuffled his bowlers well.
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