South Africa vs India 2018: Heinrich Klaasen's savage hitting is SK Turning Point of the match
Despite South Africa's struggles in the ongoing slew of limited-overs matches, Heinrich Klaasen's emergence is turning out to be a massive positive. The belligerent wicket-keeper batsman continued his impressive form by blasting a game-changing half-century in the second T20I against India at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Klaasen's brutal 30-ball 69 helped South Africa pull off a much needed victory to take the 3-match T20I series to a decider. His uninhibited stroke-play, coupled with the wet conditions on offer, snuffed India's challenge.
During the opening T20I, South Africa had played Klaasen at the number six position. This time around, they promoted the 26-year old to number four in the batting order. The team management sent him early in the run-chase with the view of taking the fight to the Indian bowlers.
Chasing 189, the Proteas slumped to 38/2 at the end of the fifth over. At a time when they could have easily fell back on experience, they opted for a rather risky move. Having been given the license to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at almost every delivery, Klaasen's savage hitting made life incredibly difficult for the visitors.
Klaasen batters Chahal into submission
Jaydev Unadkat came into the line of fire as his slower deliveries were duly dispatched into the stands by Klaasen. With the Power Play overs done and dusted, Indian skipper Virat Kohli did not take too long before introducing his white-ball trump card into the equation.
Even though the persistent drizzle was making it almost impossible to keep the ball dry, Kohli backed Chahal to rise to the challenge. Unfortunately for India, the leg-spinner went on to have a completely forgettable game.
Watch the highlights of Heinrich Klaasen's game-changing knock here
After welcoming Chahal with a towering maximum in his first over, Klaasen proceeded to pulverise the wrist-spinner. In the match-defining eleventh over of the run-chase, the explosive right-hander utilised the depth of his crease and whacked his nemesis for two audacious sixes. The second of those, an outrageous switch-hit, showed his innovative approach to batting.
Klaasen was in no mood to relent. He plundered 16 runs off the first three deliveries of Chahal's third over. Clearly ruffled by the unforgiving onslaught, the leg-spinner invited more misery upon himself by bowling either too short or too full.
Duminy takes South Africa over the line
By the time Unadkat finally deceived Klaasen with a slower off-cutter, the damage had already been done. The home town batsman had placed his team in a strong position. After all, they required only 58 more runs from 41 deliveries.
Despite conceding a whopping 51 runs from his first three overs, Chahal returned to complete his spell. He lured JP Duminy out of his crease with a clever piece of bowling. But MS Dhoni was blindsided by the advancing batsman and missed a rare stumping opportunity. The leg-spinner's day of distress was complete when he failed to hold on to a return catch.
Leading from the front, Duminy controlled the run-chase by coming up with a responsible fifty. Fittingly, he sealed South Africa's six-wicket victory by hammering back to back sixes in the penultimate over of the riveting encounter.