Suryakumar Yadav’s century and other takeaways from 3rd T20I

Team India denied South Africa a T20I series victory with a 106-run win in the third and final T20I in Johannesburg on Thursday. It was a resolute display from the visitors as the Men in Blue finished the T20I leg of the South Africa tour with a positive result to share the series 1-1 with the Proteas. The third T20I was a run-fest as far as India’s batting was concerned, but the same cannot be said of South Africa’s batting on Thursday.

A century from Suryakumar Yadav and a half-century from Yashasvi Jaiswal had led the visitors to 201/7, a total that they defended thanks to the help of the spinners, especially Kuldeep Yadav.

In Pics: India beat South Africa to level T20I series

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India vs South Africa: Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav steer Men in Blue to series-levelling win in 3rd T20I

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India vs South Africa 3rd T20I in Johannesburg, Highlights: IND level series 1-1 with 106-run win

Let’s now take a look at some takeaways from the third T20I between India and South Africa:

Suryakumar Yadav, a man for all seasons

Suryakumar Yadav had come into this match on the back of a fine half-century in the second T20I that eventually went in vain. This time, however, SKY ensured that he went the extra mile and took India to a winnable position in Johannesburg.

Suryakumar’s knock was a timely one. Shubman Gill had failed to go big and Tilak Varma was dismissed for a golden duck. This meant India were restricted to 29/2, but Suryakumar Yadav ensured the Men in Blue were out of all sorts of trouble.

Simply put, SKY continued doing SKY things on Thursday. He took on Keshav Maharaj in the fifth over with a four and a six, but his biggest over yet would come in the 13th over, when he hit Andile Phehlukwayo for three sixes as 22 runs came from it. While SKY got to his fifty in 32 balls, he would take even less time (23 balls) to convert that into a century.

On his day, when he is in his groove, SKY can be impeccable and that was exactly what was on display on Thursday.

Yashasvi Jaiswal returns with a bang

Hoew do you respond after a game where you were dismissed for a duck? Put your best foot forward and give it your best come what may. That is exactly what Yashasvi Jaiswal did on Thursday, as he slammed a 41-ball 60.

It was a rather balanced knock from Jaiswal, who timed his shots to perfection as he so often does for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

Tabraiz Shamsi was one of Jaiswal’s victims who would go for boundaries. In the eighth over, Jaiswal collected a couple of fours off Shamsi, with the 22-year-old showcasing his come-what-may attitude while taking on the South African spinners. Jaiswal’s shot of the day would later come in the 12th over, pulling a short ball from Lizaad Williams in front of square for a maximum.

Earlier in the same over, Jaiswal would get to his fifty with a single, but his celebration was short lived after Shamsi got his revenge in the 14th over, dismissing Jaiswal  with a turning delivery.

Kuldeep Yadav is here to stay

With his performance on Thursday, Kuldeep Yadav might have all but cemented his place in the India squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup. He can do anything with the turning ball, can twist the game in his team’s favour and more importantly grab wickets right when his team needs.

Right after being hit by Donovan Ferreira for a six, Kuldeep would bowl a good length ball to Ferreira to clean up the latter. The 12th over saw even more turn from Kuldeep to clean up Keshav Maharaj, before striking thrice in the 14th over, with the wickets of Nandre Burger, Lizaad Williams and David Miller, the last of which not just ended the South African innings but the team’s resistance altogether.

David Miller, the last man standing

The South African batting lineup was in a sorry state of affairs on Thursday. The pressure of a big-total chase got to them, so much so that Reeza Hendricks succumbed to pressure with his un-out at the bowlers’ end.

Skipper Aiden Markram was aggressive with his approach but his decision to go for the pull against Jadeja proved costly.

With wickets collapsing at the other end, there was just one person who stood till the very end ever since coming onto bat in the sixth over: David Miller. Three of his four boundaries came against Jadeja, but it was nearly impossible to expect Miller to single-handedly finish the job for Proteus.

Miller did collect boundaries at regular intervals but lacked support at the other end. Miller was by far the only resolute batter in the South African lineup but lack of support meant that the veteran batter eventually lost his momentum before being cleaned up by Kuldeep Yadav to help India wrap things up.

From 42/3 at one stage, the Indian spinners were too good on their day and probably only Miller knew how to tackle them. But to chase a target of 202, you would need more than just one or two players to seal the deal. However, in the end, Miller was left to fight a lonely battle before the hosts had no option but to surrender in the end.

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