'Nice to see our hard work paying off' - De Kock after SA's series-leveling win

Quinton de Kock's unbeaten 79 and clever marshaling of bowling resources helped South Africa secure a nine-wicket win and level the T20I series in Bengaluru.

Quinton de Kock made his second fifty of the series, this time guiding South Africa to a successful run-chase and a nine-wicket win.   -  K. Murali Kumar

South Africa captain Quinton de Kock was all praise for left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin after his team won the third and final T20 International by nine wickets at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. 

Fortuin took back-to-back wickets of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer to leave India stuttering at 92-5 in 13 overs. India never recovered from that slump and skipper de Kock credited his bowlers for the comfortable win. 

"I am impressed with Bjorn Fortuin, a young spinner. The Indian team is very good to play spinners and to come into conditions like this and  bowl the way he did, I can only praise him at the highest level. He was clever the way he mixed up the pace. I am very happy for the guy."

The 24-year-old left-arm spinner, playing only his second T20I after making his debut in Mohali, impressed with figures of 2-19 in three overs. “He did well in our local T20 league (Mzansi Super League) back home last year. He bowled really well in the tournament and coming up to this game, he worked really hard. He deserved a chance and he took it with both hands,” the skipper said.

Read: Hendricks, de Kock star in comprehensive win for SA

Vice-captain Rassie van der Dussen credited Fortuin as a 'bowler for the big occasion'. “Mzansi Super League has given the local guys a platform to show what they can do against world class players. Bjorn is a bowler for the big occasion. We have seen it so many times back home, now the international crowds are seeing that,” he said. 

Talking about the team sharing the spoils of the series, de Kock said: “Coming into the series, we worked really hard on our catching and fielding in general. To see everything coming together, it’s a good feeling from a captain's point of view and from the team's point of view. It is nice to see our hard work paying off.” 

Van der Dussen, however, admitted being surprised by India’s decision to bat first. “When we fielded there was a bit of dew around, so I knew when the pitch is dry, the ball gets a bit moist and doesn’t come on to the bat. I was surprised they batted first. I didn’t know the conditions here but looking at the pitch, it felt like you had to field first and chase. I think they didn’t really put enough runs to put us under pressure and gave the platform for Quinton to do what he did today. We came here today with a goal to win and captain led from the front,” van der Dussen said.