VISAKHAPATNAM: Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and seamer Harshal Patel led India to a conclusive 48-run win over South Africa in the third Twenty20 International in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, keeping the hosts’ hopes of winning the five-match series alive.
Chahal took three wickets and gave up 20 runs in his four overs as South Africa started to decline in their chase for the first time in the series after victories in Delhi and Cuttack.
Harshal also took advantage of his subtle change of pace to pick up 4-25 in India’s strong bowling performance.
With five deliveries left in their innings and a target of 180 for a series-clinching victory, the tourists never got going on a tricky surface and were bundled out for 131.
Heinrich Klaasen, who hit a match-winning 81 in the earlier games in Cuttack, led his team with 29 runs as South Africa failed to form any effective connections during their innings.
When they batted, the hosts got off to a fast start thanks to half-centuries from openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan.
However, India lost momentum after Gaikwad, who scored 57 off 35 balls, offered a return grab to left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj on the actual delivery of the 10th over.
It ended a 97-run opening stand, and India appeared to be on track for a total of around 200 at the time.
South Africa’s bowlers then dismissed number three batter Shreyas Iyer (14) and Kishan, who had scored a 35-ball 54, in short order, going to slow the scoring rate and limiting India to 179-5.
Hardik Pandya, on the other hand, managed a few hits near the end to give India’s innings a late boost with his 31-ball knock.
The series’ penultimate match will be played in Rajkot on Friday, followed by the final T20 in Bangalore on Sunday.