Motivated by Shikhar Dhawan's impressive knock of 72 runs, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a five-wicket haul to power India to a 28-run win against South Africa in the first T20 International at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, on Sunday. India's 203/5 appeared too much for South Africa as could only muster 175/9 in their response after opting to bowl first. (SCORECARD)
The Meerut quick became the first India pacer to claim a five-wicket haul in T20Is and across all formats of cricket. (Read full story)
Kumar took three of his wickets in the 18th over, an over which also included a run-out, and South Africa were finished off when they went from 154/4 to 159/8 in those six balls. (MATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
Even before the flurry of wickets, South Africa were still up against it.
India's victory means that after losing the Test series 2-1, the tourists have won six of the seven limited-overs games played so far. India took the ODI series 5-1 and was as convincing in the first 20-over game. There are two more T20Is to play.
India's 203/5, their highest T20I score against South Africa, was set up by 72 off 39 balls from opener Shikhar Dhawan. Manish Pandey contributed 29 not out in his first game on tour.
Junior Dala took 2/47 on his international debut for South Africa.
Reeza Hendricks replicated Dhawan's innings with 70 from 50 balls opening the batting for South Africa, but only Farhaan Behardien provided meaningful support with his 39.
Kumar got the ball to swing in his early overs, and used clever changes of pace at the end to ensure India was always in control.
He began that eventful 18th over with the wicket of Hendricks, who skied a catch to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kumar got Heinrich Klaasen and Chris Morris out off the fourth and fifth balls, both caught at long-on. Kumar missed out on a personal hat trick, but India took a team hat trick, when Dane Paterson was run out off the next delivery.
(With AP inputs)