South Africa’s broth just failed to ever come to the boil in the third T20 against India as a mixture of poor fielding and slow batting at the start of their chase saw them let slip a chance to wrap up the series as they lost by 48 runs in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday evening.
Having again won the toss and sent India in to bat, the Proteas made a lacklustre start to their effort in the field as Ruturaj Gaikwad (57 off 35) and Ishan Kishan (54 off 35) raced the hosts to 120/1 in 12 overs.
Although the South African bowlers fought back well with the ball, three straightforward catches were dropped in the field and, one of those beneficiaries, Hardik Pandya, scored 31 not out off 21 balls to lift India to 179/5.
Batting became progressively more difficult as the ball became softer, and it was clear the Proteas would need a quick start in pursuit of 180, a productive powerplay being crucial if they were to score the bulk of their runs in the first half of their innings, as India did.
But Temba Bavuma (8 off 10) and Reeza Hendricks (23 off 20) struggled to get going in the face of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/21) hooping the ball around and South Africa were 40/3 after seven overs.
Squawks of defiance
There were some squawks of defiance from Dwaine Pretorius (20 off 16), Heinrich Klaasen (29 off 24) and Wayne Parnell (22* off 18) but South Africa were never really in with a shout as spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3/20) and seamer Harshal Patel (4/25 in 3.1 overs) revelled in slowing conditions that allowed India to feel much more at home.
The Proteas were all out in the final over for 131, producing none of their fireworks of the first two matches.
South Africa’s bowling comeback had been led by Pretorius (2/29), Kagiso Rabada (1/31) and Parnell, who conceded 32 runs in his four overs.