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Dhawan drives India to 203/5 against South Africa in 1st T20I

32   //    18 Feb 2018, 20:01 IST

Johannesburg, Feb 18 (PTI) Shikhar Dhawan smashed his fourth T20I half-century to power India to a challenging 203 for 5 against South Africa in the opening match of the three-game series, here today. Dhawan scored 72 off only 39 balls, hitting 10 fours and 2 sixes, 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. On a batting beauty at the Wanderers, 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 used bounce in the pitch for his shots, but it brought his downfall as well. He was caught behind off debutante Junior Dala (2-47) while trying to play over slips as South Africa opted for 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 has been dropped on 7* 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 Indian 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 Manish for the fourth wicket as the Indian inning revolved around him. He was finally out in the 15th over scooping a catch behind off Andile Phehlukwayo (1-16). After that India lost a bit of momentum in their innings. Manish 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 Manish then added 20 runs off 11 balls to ensure that India cross the 200-run mark. It was the Men in Blue’s highest T20I score against South Africa. Earlier South Africa won the toss and opted to field. Heinrich Klaasen and Junior Dala were handed their debuts, while India brought in Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat into the side. They left out Kuldeep Yadav and went in with only Yuzvendra Chahal as the lone spinner

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