Indian batting meltdown

In a contest marred by interruptions due to crowd trouble, South Africa outplayed India to take a winning 2-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 series.

Two of valuable Indian wickets were lost to run outs. The first was that of Virat Kohli.   -  The Hindu

Imran Tahir took two crucial wickets of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh.   -  The Hindu

No.10 Bhivneshwar Kumar was undone by an inswinging ball from Albie Morkel, who celebrated his 50th T20I cap with three wickets.   -  K.R.Deepak

It was a shocker — first from the Indian batsmen and then the spectators in the stands.

A batting debacle saw India suffer a six-wicket defeat against South Africa in the second of the three-match T20I PayTM Trophy Freedom series at the Barabati Stadium here on Monday night and hand the visitors the series 2-0.

Equally dismal was the crowd’s behaviour as a section in the stadium repeatedly threw water bottles onto the ground, forcing the play to be stopped for 23 minutes when South Africa were 64 for three in 11 overs.

Umpires C.K. Nandan and C. Shamsuddin, after a chat with the ICC match referee, Chris Broad, and other officials, urged the players to resume play before there was another interruption because of crowd trouble, with South Africa's score reading 70 for three in 13 overs.

Play resumed after the second stoppage of 27 minutes.

South Africa made heavy weather of a modest chase of 93, with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin taking three for 24 and reasserting that he is India's best spinner by miles. But to the disappointment of the Indian camp, Harbhajan Singh, who bowled tightly in tandem with Ashwin, did not pick up any wickets, which doubled the pressure given the modest total India were defending.

Dismal fielding

Earlier, when India were put in to bat, they were clearly rattled by South Africa's quality fast bowling and the way they used the crease, either to slant the ball into or away from the batsman.

The rot began when southpaw Shikhar Dhawan went for a big heave on the on-side only to be trapped lbw by Chris Morris.

With Rohit Sharma at the crease, the threat of a run-out is always around. On this occasion, Virat Kohli, trying to steal a second run, found himself stranded by a smart throw from the deep by Morris. Later, David Miller’s throw from point caught Rohit short at the bowler’s end as he tried to take a single.

Ambati Rayudu was bowled by an innocuous full-toss from Kagiso Rabada, who was the fastest bowler on the day, often touching speeds in excess of 145 kmph.

When captain M.S. Dhoni walked in to join Suresh Raina, there were hopes of a fight-back. But that was not to be as Albie Morkel, who came in place of Marchant de Lange for this match, induced a snick from Dhoni to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. He later picked up two more to finish with a three-wicket haul, fully justifying his inclusion.

Then it was the turn of leggie Imran Tahir, who in fact opened the bowling, to flummox Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh with two consecutive googlies to leave India tottering at 69 for seven.

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