Shreyas Iyer’s excellent run in ODIs continued as he brought up his fifth fifty-plus score in six innings, this time converting it into his second ODI ton as India levelled the series with a seven-wicket win against South Africa in Ranchi on Sunday (October 9). Ishan Kishan played an equally important role in India’s victory, scoring 93 off 84, which included seven sixes and four fours, and was involved in a massive 161-run partnership with Shreyas (113* off 111, 15 fours) to set up the chase.
Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill got India’s chase of 278 off to a steady start but the Indian captain ended up being bowled for 13 by Wayne Parnell after giving the bowler the charge in the sixth over. Gill played some elegant shots on either side of the wicket while Kishan was lucky as an outside edge off Kagiso Rabada ended short of the ‘keeper. Rabada, however, took an excellent catch off his own bowling to send Gill back for a 26-ball 28 as India finished the first powerplay at 55/2.
Shreyas started off with a couple of boundaries off Anrich Nortje while Kishan played a deft shot off Rabada for a four in the 13th over. South Africa then cut out the boundaries, with Rabada and Nortje bowling some quiet overs in tandem. Kishan ended the dry spell with sixes off Keshav Maharaj while Shreyas also got into the act. Kishan reached a 60-ball fifty while Shreyas got there off 48 balls with a boundary off Aiden Markram. The batters also extended their stand past 100, with Kishan’s six off Bjorn Fortuin powering India past 150 in the 27th over.
The re-introduction of pace did little to affect India’s tempo as Kishan struck a boundary off Rabada while Shreyas hit two successive fours off Parnell to bring down the required rate to 5.1 at the end of the 30th over. Shreyas also powered a cut past backward point off Rabada while Kishan took the attack to Nortje in the 32nd over, striking a four and two sixes off consecutive deliveries to extend the partnership to 150. Kishan got a reprieve when Rabada put down a return catch and in the same over, the batter was struck on his elbow after missing a pull. He hit a six off Nortje soon after but fell in his attempt to pull Fortuin, which ended the big partnership and Kishan’s hopes of a maiden three-figure score.
The physio attended to Shreyas a couple of times as the batter was cramping up. But he continued, surviving a South Africa review, as took India closer. Shreyas reached the ton by putting away a free-hit from Rabada for a four, with Sanju Samson’s six in the same over raising the half-century stand. Shreyas carved a drive past point off Nortje to score the winning runs as India won with 25 deliveries to spare.
Earlier, after stand-in skipper Maharaj opted to bat, Markram and Reeza Hendricks combined for a 129-run partnership for the third wicket to set a good platform for South Africa. Quinton de Kock was dismissed early by Mohammed Siraj while debutant Shahbaz Ahmed ended Janneman Malan’s promising innings. Markram and Hendricks got together with South Africa at 40/2 in the 10th over, and their stand lasted for more than 20 overs as they helped their side make good progress. Hendricks was good with his wrists on both sides of the wicket while Markram timed his drives quite well having appeared a bit rusty at the start of his innings.
Siraj delivered the much-needed wicket by getting Hendricks out with a short ball but Sundar was expensive at the other end, being hit for a six and two fours in two overs. Heinrich Klaasen hit the straps straightaway, striking a six over midwicket off Shahbaz, who finished with 1-54 in his maiden outing. Meanwhile, Avesh Khan had an expensive outing. A pull over midwicket by Klaasen helped South Africa past 200 in the 37th over before he came down the track to clear the long-off fence in Kuldeep’s over. But the wicket of Klaasen and Markram in quick succession, and tight bowling from India in the death kept South Africa in check.
On a pitch that played slow and low, the change of pace worked well for the Indian bowlers, with Shardul Thakur getting Wayne Parnell out with one such delivery. South Africa went without a boundary off the bat for close to seven overs before Miller struck two successive fours off Shardul. But Siraj, who bowled three of the last five overs, continued to keep it tight and also picked up the wicket of Maharaj as South Africa managed only 28 runs in the last five overs.
Brief scores: South Africa 278/7 in 50 overs (Aiden Markram 79, Reeza Hendricks 74; Mohammed Siraj 3-38) lost to India 282/3 in 45.5 overs (Shreyas Iyer 113*, Ishan Kishan 93; Wayne Parnell 1-44) by 7 wickets.