Heinrich Klaasen hit South Africa out of trouble with 81 as they chased down a modest target on a tricky wicket. Image Credit: AFP

Cuttack: South African wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen stood out on a demanding pitch with a career-best innings of 81 and take South Africa to a four-wicket victory in the second T20I against India at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

Klaasen, who replaced an unfit Quinton de Kock, took 46 balls to set the tempo for the visitors’ chase of a below-par target of 149. His innings was studded with seven fours and five mighty sixes on both sides as South Africa recovered from 29 for three to chase down the runs with 10 balls to spare and take 2-0 lead in the series.

After choosing to follow the successful template of the first match and restricting India to 148 for six, South Africa found itself in a tight spot. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar mixed his superb skills with immaculate precision to bowl three of the first six overs and captured three valuable wickets to leave South Africa tottering at 29 for three after the PowerPlay.

Earlier, a disciplined bowling performance helped South Africa restrict India to 148/6 despite Dinesh Karthik’s late flourish (30 not out off 21). Apart from Karthik, Shreyas Iyer (40 off 35), Ishan Kishan (34 off 21) were the main scorers as most of the Indian batters failed to deliver against Proteas bowlers and lost wickets at regular intervals.

Put into bat first, India had a bad start as opener Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the very first over of the innings. Shreyas Iyer then joined Ishan Kishan in the middle and it was not easy for both Indian batters as Proteas pacers were bowling hard lengths on a two-paced Cuttack pitch.

Superb Nortje

India got a bit of a move on in the fourth over, with Nortje bowling a couple in Ishan Kishan’s arc and he whipped them over the legside for sixes. The left-hander continued his aggressive approach and took India to 42/1 at the end of the powerPlay.

However, in the next over, Nortje bowled a shot pitch delivery to Kishan, who was late on the pull and offered a dolly to square leg, going back to pavilion after a breezy 34 off 21.

Unlike Delhi, where Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma brought spinners in the first over, he kept spin away for eight overs here. In the ninth over, left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was introduced and went for 14 runs after Iyer hit him for a four and a six. Keshav Maharaj showed smartness in the next over, bowled outside off at an onrushing Rishabh Pant (5) who mistimed his slog to the sweeper cover fielder, leaving India to 68/3 in 9.1 overs.

The onus was then on Hardik Pandya and a settled Iyer to take India forward. But, Bavuma brought Wayne Parnell back into the attack and the pacer bowled a ball with the angle to knock Pandya’s stumps down.