Guwahati, Oct 2: David Miller's quickfire century and his unbeaten 174-run stand with Quinton de Kock went in vain as South Africa lost the second T20I by a margin of 16 runs here at Barsapara Cricket Stadium on Sunday (October 2) in a high scoring game. With this win, India went 2-0 up in the series and recorded their first-ever bilateral T20I series against the Proteas at home.
In a game that saw 458 runs being scored in two innings, Miller (106* off 47, 7 sixes, 8 fours) and Suryakumar Yadav (71 off 22, 5 sixes and 5 fours) stole the show with their exceptional batting performance. The duo entertained the audience with their powerful strokeplay against every bowler but it was the Indian's knock which didn't go in vain.
Defending a mammoth 237, the Men in Blue restricted the Proteas to 221 for three in the stipulated 20 overs. Despite losing their top three batters early in the run chase, Miller (106* off 47) and De Kock (69* off 48) kept their team in the hunt and kept the hosts on the tenterhooks. The duo hammered 78 runs in the last four overs and left all the bowlers badly bruised and battered but a few good balls in the death overs ensured the hosts ended up on the winning side.
Miller - who had a memorable game - also became the leading run scorer for South Africa and hit two consecutive big sixes to notch up his second T20I ton but it wasn't enough.
Indian bowling in the death overs came under scrutiny once again as they kept leaking runs. Except for Deepak Chahar (0/24), the rest of the Indian bowlers every pretty expensive Arshdeep Singh (2/62), Axar Patel (1/53), Harshal Patel (0/45) and R Ashwin (0/37). The pace duo of Arshdeep and Harshal together leaked 107 runs from their quota of 8 overs which should be a matter of concern for the skipper going forward.
However, batting first, Team India posted 237 for the loss of three wickets to register their fourth-highest T20I total. KL Rahul (57 off 28) and Rohit Sharma (43 off 37) laid the foundation for a huge total with their opening stand of 96 runs. Rahul slammed a 24-ball 50 and put the debate about his strike rate to rest and won the player of the match award.
Keshav Maharaj was the only economical bowler for South Africa as he dismissed set openers in quick succession. But Suryakumar Yadav's entry into the middle proved to be a blessing in disguise for the hosts as the right-handed batter showcased his 360-hitting skills. He attacked every South African bowler and notched up the joint-fastest fifty from an Indian off just 18 balls. It was his explosive knock which helped the Indians post a massive 237 for the loss of three wickets.
Virat Kohli (49* off 28), Yadav (61 off 22 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (17* off 7) displayed imperious batting display in the second half of the Indian innings and smashed 141 runs in the last 10 overs.
The third T20I between the two teams is going to be an inconsequential one as Rohit & Co. have won the series but they will be hoping for a win in Indore on October 4.