Innings South Africa 249 for 4 (Miller 75*, Klaasen 74*, de Kock 48, Thakur 2-35) vs India
Siraj and Avesh made exceptional use of bowler-friendly condition upfront and opened with four testing overs each to limit South Africa to 28 runs in the eight-over powerplay. Both found movement and challenged the openers’ awareness of their off stump. Janneman Malan was beaten several times, de Kock was hit on the thigh, but between all that, they managed to get a few away. De Kock drove Avesh through mid-off and Malan got two decent pull shots to the boundary and, importantly, they survived.
They were close to being separated when Thakur came on as first change and drew Malan forward to take the edge, but Shubman Gill, at first slip, put it down. Thakur got his man two overs later, when Malan clipped a full ball to Shreyas Iyer at midwicket and the opening stand ended on 49.
Sensing an opportunity to get into South Africa’s middle-order, Shikhar Dhawan brought on Kuldeep to replace Bishnoi and it was clear that Aiden Markram could not read him at all. Markram was foxed by the googly and the shorter delivery and then bowled by the legspinner as he moved to defend. South Africa were 71 for 3 after 16 overs.
Kuldeep continued to trouble South Africa, and had Klaasen top-edging a sweep, but the chance landed wide of Dhawan at slip. Klaasen got his own back with a well-placed slog-sweep between fine leg and deep square not long after. Klaasen and de Kock’s fourth-wicket partnership grew to 39 at a scoring rate above six and South Africa’s recovery was on track, until de Kock was out lbw when he missed a reverse-sweep to become Bishnoi’s first ODI wicket. De Kock reviewed but ball-tracking showed Bishnoi was hitting middle stump.
With 17.4 overs left and a decent platform lay, the stage was set for Miller to tee-off. He was gifted a short, wide delivery upfront and smacked it through the covers for four, then swept the first Kuldeep ball he faced for four more and brought up the heavy artillery when he tonked Bishnoi back over his head for six. The spinners conceded 26 runs in three overs, prompting Dhawan to bring Thakur back, and he quietened things down and even threatened Miller’s outside edge. But, with only five bowlers in the attack, Bishnoi had to be brought back and Klaasen took over the aggressor’s role. He found the gap between midwicket and square leg for four and then hit Kuldeep over the covers for his first six to leave South Africa on 164 for 4 with ten overs to go.
India gave away 31 runs in the next five overs as Miller and Klaasen tempered themselves between all-out-attack and saving themselves for the end. In the 36th over, Miller reached his fifty off 50 balls, and Klaasen got to his milestone off 52 before he flat-batted Avesh for six. Things continued to go awry for India when Ruturaj Gaikwad dropped Miller off Siraj; Siraj then dropped Klaasen off Avesh; and Bishnoi put Miller down off the next ball in an over that cost Avesh 16 runs. South Africa scored 54 in the last five overs to finish one short of 250.