Dhawan, Bhuvi pack off South Africa

Dhawan, Bhuvi pack off South Africa

India take 1-0 lead with 28-run victory in opening match

Dhawan, Bhuvi pack off South Africa

Shikhar Dhawan smashed a half-century and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took career-best figures of 5-24 as India eased to a 28-run victory over South Africa in the opening Twenty20 International of their three-game series at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Having been sent in to bat, India plundered 203 for five from their 20 overs on a flat batting wicket as opener Dhawan hit a superb 72 from 39 balls.

It is India's highest innings total against South Africa in the shortest format of the game, with debutant seamer Junior Dala (2-47 in four overs) the most successful home bowler.

South Africa were in the game until Kumar's final over when he picked up the key wicket of Reeza Hendricks (70 from 50 balls), and then dismissed Heinrich Klaasen (16) and Chris Morris (0) in successive balls, before Dane Paterson (1) was the fourth wicket to fall as he was run out.

The home side ended their innings on 175 for nine, continuing their struggles against the tourists in the limited overs matches on the tour having been thrashed 5-1 in the one-day international series.

Dhawan hit 10 fours and 2 sixes in his half-century while Virat Kohli (26 off 20 balls) and Manish Pandey (29 off 27 balls) also made useful contributions after Rohit Sharma (21 off 9 balls) gave India a power-packed start.

Rohit and Dhawan put on 23 off only 11 balls with the former hitting two sixes during his short stay as the ball was flying to all corners of the park.  Rohit was caught behind off Dala while trying to play over slips as South Africa opted for a DRS referral.

Surprisingly, Suresh Raina (15) came out at No 3 and played a handy little cameo. Raina and Dhawan put on 26 runs off 13 balls, with the former smashing two fours and a six.  Raina skied a pull shot off Dala and the bowler gleefully accepted the catch. He had been dropped on seven at mid-off by Ferhaan Behardien earlier.

Kohli too got an early life from Behardien as he grassed a simple catch at long on off Tabraiz Shamsi (1-37). The skipper and Dhawan marched on quickly as India were placed at 78/2 after the powerplays.

The duo put on 50 off just 25 balls as India crossed 100 in the 9th over but Shamsi returned to trap Kohli lbw in the 10th over and while the Indian skipper called for DRS, the decision remained in the bowler's favour.

Dhawan continued smacking the ball and reached his half-century off 27 balls. He added 47 runs with Pandey for the fourth wicket. Dhawan  was finally out in the 15th over, scooping a catch behind off Andile Phehlukwayo (1-16).

After that India lost a bit of momentum. Pandey and MS Dhoni (16) had a slower stand in comparison to what the top-order had done, adding only 28 off 21 balls before the latter was bowled by Chris Morris (1-39) in the penultimate over.

Hardik Pandya (13 not out) and Pandey then added 20 runs off 11 balls to ensure that India crossed the 200-run mark.  

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