Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan bamboozled South Africa batters while B Sai Sudarshan had a memorable international debut with an unbeaten half-century as India demolished the hosts by eight wickets in the ODI series opener at the Wanderers here on Sunday.
In their first game in this format post the ODI World Cup final loss last month, India’s bowlers got a lot of help and Arshdeep fully cashed on it by taking a sensational 5-37 in ten overs, taking his first five-wicket haul in this format.
Avesh, on the other hand, was the perfect partner from the other end by taking 4-27 in eight overs as South Africa were bowled out for just 116 in 27.3 overs, their lowest total in the format.
In reply, Sudarshan was impressive on debut, making 55 not out off 41 balls, while Shreyas Iyer made 52 as India closed the chase with 200 balls to spare. The visitors’ now have a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.
On a pitch which hosted the third T20I between the two teams a couple of days ago, Arshdeep began his show by having Reeza Hendricks chop on to his stumps for an eight-ball duck and followed it up by trapping Rassie van der Dussen lbw with a nip-backer.
Aiden Markam added 39 for the third wicket with Tony de Zorzi, who was at ease in facing short and fuller balls, and dispatching them to the boundaries as compared to his skipper, who got off the mark on the 13th ball he faced.
But de Zorzi was undone by playing one too many against the short balls and gave a top-edge to KL Rahul off Arshdeep, who ended the power-play by getting one to nip back in and disturb Heinrich Klaasen’s leg-stump bail.
Avesh then took over to have Markram chop on to his stumps and trap Wiaan Mulder lbw with a nipping away delivery. He continued to strike as David Miller fished outside the off-stump and gave a simple catch behind to Rahul, followed by Keshav Maharaj chipping straight to short cover.
Andile Phehlukwayo waged a lone battle by hitting three fours and two sixes in his 49-ball 33, but Arshdeep trapped him lbw when he was trying to shape for a slog. Kuldeep Yadav ended South Africa’s misery by castling Nandre Burger, as Arshdeep and Avesh shared nine wickets between themselves.
In the chase, Sudarshan got off the mark in international cricket with a crisply-timed cover drive for four, which had class written all over. He would continue to impress with good-looking steer past point and timing a drive sweetly through extra cover for two more boundaries.
After Ruturaj Gaikwad was trapped lbw after missing the flick against Mulder, Iyer showed his repertoire of free-flowing shots, even as Sudarshan continued to impress with his feet usage against spinners, pulling whenever given a chance and timing his drives effortlessly.
Though Iyer fell after making 52, Sudarshan remained unbeaten on 55 as India took the series lead without literally breaking a sweat on the Pink Day at Johannesburg, while South Africa were left with many questions to answer ahead of the second match at Gqeberha on Tuesday.
Brief Scores: South Africa 116 in 27.3 overs (Andile Phehlukwayo 33; Arshdeep Singh 5-37, Avesh Khan 4-27) lost to India 117/2 in 16.4 overs (B Sai Sudharsan 55 not out, Shreyas Iyer 52; Andile Phehlukwayo 1-15, Wiaan Mulder 1-26) by eight wickets