SA restrict India to 148/6 on difficult Barabati pitch


Cuttack: Indian batters found it tough to get going against some tight bowling display from South Africa to be restricted to a modest 148 for 6 on a tacky Barabati track in the second T20I here on Sunday.

Shreyas Iyer (40) was the top-scorer for India while Ishan Kishan provided some early sparks (21-ball 34) but the hosts lost the momentum in the middle-overs on a two-paced track.

That in-form finisher Dinesh Karthik was sent way down at No 7, behind Axar Patel, also made it difficult for the Rishabh Pant-led India, who are trailing 0-1 in the series.

Karthik, team’s designated ‘finisher ‘ (30 not out from 21 balls) smashed two sixes and two fours to give the total some semblance of respectability.

Harshal Patel (12 not out from nine balls) gave him a good company as the duo improved the Indian run-rate stitching together 36 runs from the last three overs to give them some respite. Put into bat on a challenging track, the Indian batters struggled barring a small 45-run second wicket partnership between Kishan and Shreyas Iyer.

Opening the bowling, Kagiso Rabada set the tone early on, giving a breakthrough straightway in his first over.

He brilliantly set up Ruturaj Gaikwad

(1) with a barrage of short balls before mixing up a fuller one to cleverly deceive the opener en route to a miserly spell 4-0-15-1 that included 13 dot balls.

After the sedate start, it was Kishan (34 from 21 balls) who provided the firepower in the power play, smashing Nortje for two sixes to improve their run-rate.

Fresh from his fiery fifty in the Kotla T20I, Kishan relied on his pick-up shots through the square leg region to hit three sixes and two fours.

But just when the duo looked to consolidate, Nortje won the battle against the diminutive Mumbai Indians opener, by pitching it short and offering pace as the lefthander mistimed his hook this time to be caught at deep square leg.