Mohali: Skipper Virat Kohli led India to a resounding seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second T20 International with an unbeaten 72-run knock as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the short three-match series here on Wednesday.
Kohli (72 not out off 52 balls), who made a memorable 82 not out in his last T20 on this ground more than three years ago, helped India chase down the modest target with consummate ease, getting the team home in 19 overs.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 31) too made a significant contribution and shared a 61-run stand with the skipper, who scored his 22nd T20 fifty. His 52-ball knock comprised four boundaries and three sixes.
The solid performance with the bat came after the bowlers restricted South Africa to 149 for five in 20 overs.
India were always in control of the chase despite losing Rohit Sharma (12 off 12) early. The India vice-captain was trapped in front by Andile Phehlukwayo after he pulled debutant Anrich Nortje for two sixes in the second over.
While it was a treat to watch Kohli, Rishabh Pant (4) threw away his wicket again. India were cruising when he came into the middle and it was an ideal platform for Pant to take the team over the line alongside his captain. It was an innocuous ball from debutant spinner Bjorn Fortuin but Pant hit it straight to the short fine-leg fielder Tabraiz Shamsi.
Earlier, South Africa captain Quinton de Kock (52 off 37) and debutant Temba Bavuma (49 off 43) played impressive knocks but India managed to limit South Africa to a below-par total.
South Africa did not get the final flourish they were looking for.
India bowled well in the death overs, conceding only 24 runs in the final four with pacer Deepak Chahar being the pick of the bowlers, taking two wickets for 22 runs in four overs.
Kohli becomes leading run-scorer in T20Is
Mohali: Virat Kohli played a captain’s knock as he remained unbeaten on 72 off 52 balls during India’s 7-wicket win over South Africa in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) in Mohali on Wednesday. With his splendid innings, studded with 4 fours and 3 sixes, Kohli surpassed Rohit Sharma to become the leading run-scorer in T20Is.
The Indian captain now has 2,441 runs from 71 T20Is as compared to Rohit’s 2,434 runs from 97 matches.
“When you play like that and win a game for your team, it is always a good feeling,” Man of the Match Kohli said after the win. “The pitch was very good and an outstanding effort from the bowlers to pull things back. Lot of positive signs for us and we are going in the right direction. The badge in front of my shirt – India – it is a pride to play for my country. If you want to win a game for your team, you will find a way. The will should be to win the game for your country,” he added.