A thrilling 7-run win for India in the final T20 International

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Even without Virat Kohli, India defeated South Africa in the third and final T20 International at Cape Town early this morning (Sydney time) by seven runs to win the series 2-1. Eight days ago India had triumphed in the ODI series 5-1.

Now no one can say India wins only on home surface. Also South Africa is a strong team, home and away.

With Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina adding 65 runs for the second wicket off 49 balls, India managed 7 for 172 in the Cape Town match.

South Africa made a slow start and was 3 for 79 off 78 balls. Then skipper JP Duminy and debutant Christiaan Jonker started hitting fours and sixes and brought the home team close to victory. But India held her nerve.

In the final pulsating over South Africa needed 19 runs to win the match and the series but Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled accurately and India won.

It was worth staying awake till early this morning to watch this cliff-hanger.

Raina was made Man of the Match and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the Man of the Series.

India’s stand-in-captain Rohit Sharma said at the presentation: “To be honest, we were 15 runs short. Because the way the first half went, I thought we lost our way in the end. These things happen and we learn from it.

“I thought it was a decent score and the bowlers did the job for us. I hope games like these teach us a lot of things. We discussed certain plans and it worked today. The idea was to keep the ball on the stumps and we kept it tight in the first six overs. Credit must go to the new-ball bowlers. It was a complete bowling performance.

“We will take these limited-overs trophies [with pride]. Throughout the series we played with a lot of aggression. As a group, we never back down from any situation. That is the reason we are standing here as winners.”

Welcome home Indian cricketers, holding your head high. You ARE the champions.

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