Cape Town - Bhuvneshwar Kumar put the finishes touches to what has been an outstanding tour for the lower-order all-rounder as he claimed his first five-wicket haul to round off India’s 28-run victory over the Proteas at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
Scorecard: Proteas v India, 1st T20I
India proved to be far too ring-wise for the inexperienced South African line-up to go 1-0 up in the three-match T20 International Series which forms part of the celebration of the centenary anniversary of the founding Father of the Country, Nelson Mandela.
The remaining matches will be played at SuperSport Park on Wednesday and Newlands next Saturday.
India, thanks in the main to Shikhar Dhawan (72 off 39 balls, 10 fours and 2 sixes) with good support from the rest of the order, all of whom reached double figures, set the Proteas an extremely challenging target of 204 and Kumar made sure that was not going to happen when he took two wickets up front, including that of home captain JP Duminy, and then three more at the back end, including top scorer Reeza Hendricks (70 off 50 balls, 8 fours and a six).
Kumar’s figures were the second best for India behind Yuzvendra Chahal’s 6/22 against England and were the best ever achieved at this venue.
The Proteas’ day got off to a bad start when AB de Villiers was ruled out of the entire series through a knee injury picked up at practice.
It was nevertheless not entirely a day of doom and gloom for the Proteas. Tabraiz Shamsi seems to have found out a way to dismiss Virat Kohli. He came literally within a millimetre of having the Indian captain stumped during the Port Elizabeth ODI and got him out twice today, first denied by a dropped catch on the boundary before getting his man leg before wicket.
One can’t imagine a better 28th birthday present for Shamsi than the wicket of Kohli!
Hendricks was another inexperienced 28-year-old to show that he is up for the battle of international competition and both new cap Heinrich Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo looked ready for this level again although they were left with too much to do.
The Protea went into this match with five specialist bowlers with a combined total of 30 international caps with Junior Dala also being a debutant and in retrospect the Proteas should probably have given the new ball to Chris Morris ahead of either Dala or Dane Paterson. Dala nevertheless had the Proteas best bowling figures (2/47).
Kumar was named Man of the Match.