• Kohli too strong for spirited Proteas

    India captain Virat Kohli’s characteristic dominance was too much for the Proteas to overcome in Wednesday’s seven-wicket defeat in the second T20I at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Chandigarh.

    The tourists fielded an inexperienced XI dotted with T20I debutants – Temba Bavuma, Anrich Nortje and Bjorn Fortuin – against an opposition unit lined with the expertise of Kohli, fellow batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan and all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya.

    Chasing a modest 150-run goal in humid conditions, the home side reached 151-3 with six deliveries to spare on the back of Kohli’s commanding 72 not out from 52 deliveries, four fours and three sixes included. The talismanic right-hander’s characteristic cool, calm and collected poise in pursuit of a relatively testing target was prevalent throughout.

    He enjoyed solid support from Dhawan and Sharma. The latter was untroubled by fast bowler Nortje, who was dispatched for twin sixes during a particularly wayward first over in T20I cricket.

    Left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin was reasonably impressive despite some late expense. He didn’t extract much turn, but varied pace and lengths eventually accounted for the dismissal of the dangerous Rishabh Pant.

    Earlier, captain Quinton de Kock and Bavuma were at the fore of the Proteas’ final total of 149-5. Kohli had won the toss and opted to bowl first.

    De Kock quietened suggestion that the addition of the captaincy would negatively affect his primary role with the bat en route to a brisk half-century. His 52 spanned a mere 37 deliveries and featured eight fours. The hard-hitting left-hander’s entertaining stay was eventually ended by a superb catch from mid-off fielder Kohli. His was not the only acrobatic performance in the field, as long-off fielder David Miller later took a diving one-handed catch to get rid of Dhawan.

    Bavuma, meanwhile, countered insistence that he is just a Test-match batsman with a typically workmanlike 49 from 43, including three fours and a six. He and De Kock lacked appropriate support from opener Reeza Hendricks and middle-order maestro Rassie van der Dussen, though.

    This was hardly a mismatch, but the Proteas need to navigate the imbalance ahead of Sunday’s series decider at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Last week’s first T20I in Dharamsala was washed out without a delivery bowled.


    Photo: Getty Images

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