Seamer Albie Morkel staging a fine return to the side led the way with three for 12 as clinical South Africa beat India by six wickets in the crowd trouble-marred second Twenty20 international in Cuttack to convincingly win the series 2-0. The Proteas were helped by superb bowling spells by Leg-spinner Imran Tahir and seamer Chris Morris chipped in with two wickets each.
Known for having a strong batting line- up and needed to win this encounter to stay alive in the series , India were skittled for a paltry 92 after being sent in to bat on a pitch of inconsistent bounce at the Barabati stadium. Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had South Africa struggling at 49-3 after removing Hashim Amla (two), skipper Faf du Plessis (16) and danger man AB de Villiers (19) in his four-over spell. But even two stoppages due to bottles being thrown on the field of play by disappointed Indian fans could not prevent the tourists from surpassing the modest target in 17.1 overs. Match referee Chris Broad of England ordered match organisers to provide adequate security in the stands before the game could be resumed.
The easy win gave South Africa a decisive 2-0 lead in the three-match series, having won the opener by seven wickets in Dharamsala on Friday. The final match will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata .
A delighted Proteas Twenty20 skipper Du Plessis saluted man-of-the-match Morkel, who was playing his 50th T20 international. “It’s an easy job to be captain when your bowlers perform like that,” the skipper said. “I reckon it’s the best bowling performance we have had as a T20 team. “We are really proud of Albie shining in his 50th game. He was really clever with the lines he bowled.”
A dejected Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted his team ‘did not play good cricket’. “We did not bat well at all,” he said. “It’s necessary to address what went wrong. When you get performances like this, what’s important is how you bounce back.” “It’s difficult to judge our bowlers when you do not put up enough runs on the board. We did not play good cricket.” Earlier, India put an uninspiring show with the bat with only Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina top-scored with 22 each as India were bowled out in 17.2 overs to record their second-lowest total in T20 internationals. They had fallen for 74 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2008.
Morkel, a late induction in the touring squad after David Wiese was ruled out with a fractured hand, struck deadly blows after replacing Marchant de Lange from the team that played in Dharamsala. India were reduced to 30-2 by the fifth over as Shikhar Dhawan fell leg-before to Chris Morris for 11 and star batsman Virat Kohli was run out first ball while attempting a risky second run. That rattled India Sharma, who hit a century in Dharamsala, was run out by a direct throw by David Miller from point. Ambati Rayadu failed to get off the mark for the second successive time when he was bowled second ball by young fast bowler Kagiso Rabada. Rayudu’s failure has put a question mark as to why he was picked in the playing eleven ahead of Ajinkya Rahane.
India slipped into further trouble when Dhoni was caught behind off Morkel for five to make it 67-5 in the 12th over. Tahir, who shared the new ball with Kyle Abbott, dismissed Raina and the recalled Harbhajan Singh off consecutive deliveries in his third over, reducing India to 69-7. The tail failed to play out the allotted overs against the sustained pressure applied by the South African bowlers. Ashwin had Amla caught at leg-slip, forced du Plessis to hole out in the deep and bowled de Villiers with a straight ball, but none of the other bowlers worried the tourists. JP Duminy remained unbeaten on 30, hitting the winning boundary off Suresh Raina to seal the series in the incident marred encounter.