Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas race to victory over India in rain-affected T20 encounter

South Africa reached 154/5 with seven balls to spare.

Making the opportunity count after the skies cleared up enough to ensure a result, the Proteas raced to an impressive five-wicket victory over India in their T20 International clash in Gqeberha on Tuesday night.

Chasing a revised target of 152 runs to win in a reduced 15-over innings, following a rain interruption which forced an extension of the innings break, South Africa got off to a thunderous start.

Opening batters Reeza Hendricks and Matthew Breetzke bashed 42 runs off just 17 balls before Breetzke got a bit carried away in the excitement and was run out for 16 in the third over.

Hendricks then combined in a 54-run stand with Proteas captain Aiden Markram for the second wicket. Markram was eventually dismissed for 30 runs and Hendricks fell in the next over after hitting 49 off 27 balls.

After they laid a solid foundation, the middle order did enough to carry the hosts over the line as they reached 154/5 with seven deliveries to spare.

India innings

Earlier, Rinku Singh produced a cracking performance after India lost the toss and were sent in to bat.

The Proteas’ frontline bowlers launched a double attack, removing India’s opening pair within the first two overs of the innings.

However, captain Suryakumar Yadav anchored a recovery effort, sharing a 70-run stand for the fourth wicket with Singh.

Yadav contributed 56 off 36 balls before spin bowler Tabraiz Shamsi ended the partnership when he had the skipper caught by Marco Jansen at long-off.

Given a life

Singh then got stuck in, taking control of the innings after surviving a scare. Having racked up 18 runs, in the 12th over, he had been given out lbw. But a successful review kept him at the crease.

And though it would ultimately be for a lost cause, he made the extra life count. Singh was on 68 not out off 39 deliveries when the players were called off the field (due to rain) with just three balls left in India’s innings.

The tourists made 180/7 from 19.3 overs, but the rain delay reduced South Africa’s innings to just 15 overs as the hosts were set an adjusted target.

Gerald Coetzee was the best of the Proteas bowlers, returning 3/32, while Shamsi was particularly miserly, giving away just 18 runs from his four overs.

Series lead

With the win, South Africa took a 1-0 series lead after the opening match of the T20 International campaign was rained out in Durban at the weekend.

The third and final fixture of the T20I series will be played at the Wanderers on Thursday.

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