Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep star in big win in 3rd T20I; help India level series with South Africa 1-1

Image Source : AP Suryakumar Yadav starred with his fourth T20I century while bowlers bowled out South Africa for just 95

A much-needed and well-deserved win for India in the third and final T20I helped the Men in Blue level the series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Thursday, December 14. Captain Suryakumar Yadav led the proceedings for India with a fourth T20I century while Kuldeep Yadav registered his second five-wicket haul in the format for India as the visitors won the decider by 106 runs to level the three-match assignment 1-1 after the opener was washed out in Durban.

India lost two early wickets yet again in the powerplay before Surya arrived to give company to Yashasvi Jaiswal who was smashing it to all parts. The duo ended the powerplay on a high and kept the momentum even after it. Jaiswal was the aggressor of the two while Surya struggled for a bit before opening up with three sixes and a four in the 13th over to bring up his half-century off just 32 balls.

Jaiswal who hit his third T20I fifty mistimed a lofted shot of Tabraiz Shamsi to get out on 60 and it was a one-man show from Surya thereon. Batters kept hitting and getting out at the other end but Surya marched on to smash his fourth T20I century and level with Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell. India reached the 201-mark, which was a good score but Johannesburg is not an easy ground to defend and the bowlers had their work cut out.

And they responded in style. Mohammed Siraj set the tone with a maiden over before Mukesh Kumar got the wicket of Matthew Breetzke in the second over of the innings. Captain Aiden Markram came with intent once again but Siraj’s rocket arm found Reeza Hendricks short of his ground.

The wickets procession never stopped for South Africa as Heinrich Klaasen was the third batter to lose his wicket in the powerplay. If that wasn’t enough, stand-in skipper Ravindra Jadeja (Surya left the field after twisting his ankle) dismissed Markram immediately after the powerplay.

Jadeja would have gotten his second immediately after had the umpire seen the edge of David Miller’s bat, which was clear in the replay but since DRS had malfunctioned, the Men in Blue couldn’t send it upstairs. After a bit, the procession began again with Kuldeep Yadav taking his first as Donovan Ferreira was sent back after he hit a six.

Jadeja got his second in the form of Andile Phehlukwayo before the birthday boy Kuldeep cleaned up the tail and finish with the wicket of Miller to help India bowl out the Proteas for just 95.

This was his second five-wicket haul in T20Is and became only the second Indian bowler after Bhuvneshwar Kumar to take multiple five-wicket hauls for India. The focus will now shift to the ODIs with both teams set to lock horns in a three-match series. The series opener will be played at the same venue on Sunday, December 17.

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