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India run riot at the Wanderers to crush the Proteas and level T20 series

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India’s T20I captain certainly was at a heaving Wanderers last night with his century providing royal entertainment for the capacity crowd.

India’s captain Suryakumar Yadav. File Picture: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR, AFP

A pair of Yadav’s crushed the Proteas to allow India to level the three-match T20I series at a heaving Wanderers on Thursday evening.

Suryakumar Yadav struck a magnificent 55-ball century for the visitors before Kuldeep Yadav returned career-best figures of 5/17 to dismantle the Proteas for just 95 that secured a resounding 106-run victory.

The “Sky” certainly has no limits when Suryakumar Yadav is in full flow at the crease. And India’s T20I captain certainly was at a heaving Wanderers last night with his century providing royal entertainment for the capacity crowd.

Often T20 rankings are misleading, but there is little doubt that Yadav is the No.1 T20 batter on the planet. The lanky right-hander’s vast range of strokes is reminiscent of a former Proteas legend that once thrilled this very Bullring with his ability to score 360 degrees around the wicket.

Yadav feasted upon an inexperienced Proteas seam attack with Western Province left-armer Nandre Burger awarded a T20I debut.

The visiting skipper walked to the crease with Keshav Maharaj (2/26) on a hat-trick after a double strike by the left-arm spinner had halted India’s early momentum.

Yadav was initially content to assess the conditions, but once he settled into a rhythm there was simply no stopping him. Overall he struck seven boundaries and eight maximums, but there was none sweeter than when Lizaad Williams drifted onto Yadav’s pads only to see the ball nonchalantly flicked into the masses revelling on the Open East Stand terraces.

The skipper had significant support from young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who compiled a composed 60 from 41 balls during a third wicket partnership of 112 that set up India’s 201/7.

Apart from Maharaj’s miserly spell, it was a tough night for the young South African attack as they quickly discovered what is required at the highest level.

Equally, the batters were not up to the task with India’s attack dominating from the outset. Mohammed Sirag was excellent with the new ball, getting it to shape both ways at high pace, and set the tone for the rest of the innings with a maiden opening over to Reeza Hendricks.

Matthew Breetzke got off the mark with a scrumptious square drive, but that was as good as it got for the opener as he smashed Mukesh Kumar’s next delivery into his stumps.

From thereon it was a procession with only captain Aiden Markram (25) and David Miller (35 not out) barely offering up any form of resistance.

The Indian spinners were relentless with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja (2/25) combining in perfectly in tandem to run through the Proteas’ middle-order.

Yadav’s performance brought back nightmarish memories for the Proteas when the wrist-spinner claimed 17 wickets in the ODI series when he was last in South Africa back in 2018.

These two teams will be back here at the same venue on Sunday — albeit with the Proteas dressed in pink — for the first ODI of the three-match series.

Scorecard

India: 201/7 (Suryakumar Yadav 100, Yashasvi Jaiswal 61, Keshav Maharaj 2/26)

South Africa: 95 all out (Kuldeep Yadav 5/17, Ravindra Jadeja 2/26, David Miller 35*)

Result: India won by 106 runs, level the series 1-1

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