Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal shine as India wins 3rd T20I to keep the series alive

Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal
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India checked all the boxes when it counted most, crushing South Africa by 48 runs in the third T20 International in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday to keep the five-match series alive. After half-centuries from Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) propelled India to 179 for five, Yuzvendra Chahal (3/20) and Harshal Patel (4/25) led the way with the ball.

After starter Gaikwad turned things around with a magnificent inning and Ishan got his second fifty of the series, the bowlers came up big.

Gaikwad, who has been criticized for his inconsistent form of late, smashed two maximums and seven fours in his 35-ball innings, while Ishan, who was requested to take the first strike, also scored 35 runs in 35 balls.

In the fourth over, Rishabh Pant deployed the spinners early to defend the score, and Axar Patel struck with a fuller delivery as Temba Bavuma (8) holed out to Avesh Khan.

Chahal’s fast bowling was rewarded with an extra bounce off the wicket, allowing him to dismiss Rassie van der Dussen (1), Dwaine Pretorius (20), and Heinrich Klassen (29).

Harshal varied his deliveries superbly to dismiss Reeza Hendricks (23) and David Miller (3), and then returned to dismiss Kagiso Rabada (9) and Tabraiz Shamsi (0) as South Africa were all out for 131.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/21) bowled with a lot of passion, as well.

Gaikwad and Ishan both smashed two sixes and shared 12 boundaries in the first half, but South Africa tightened the clamps in the second half to hold India inside 180.

After a cautious start, Gaikwad took control and burst in the fifth over, smacking five consecutive boundaries off Anrich Nortje.

If he cut the first one with ease, he danced down the track for the next four. The ball hit Gaikwad’s grill when he was attempting to move away from a vicious bouncer, resulting in the third boundary.

Gaikwad then punished Nortje by sending the fifth ball across the third man for bowling a half-volley.

As India reached 57 for no loss in six overs, the Maharashtra batsman also smashed Dwaine Pretorius over deep backward square for his second six of the series.

In the ninth over, Ishan, who had been playing second fiddle, got in on the act, smashing Shamsi’s overpitched ball for a maximum before sweeping him for another four as the overproduced 13 runs.

With India on 97 for one at the midway point, Gaikwad achieved his fifty in 30 balls and then welcomed Keshav Maharaj with an inside-out lift for a four, but the spinner had him caught off his own bowling.

Ishan then treated Maharaj like royalty, hitting two fours and a six on way to his second fifty of the series in 31 balls.

New-man Shreyas Iyer looked in fine form as he hit sixes off Nortje and Shamsi, but the spinner removed him, with Nortje timing his leap to perfect for a wonderful catch.

By eliminating Ishan, who was captured by Hendricks, Pretorius pushed India back even further.

David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen lost two sitters to allow Hardik Pandya (29) and Rishabh Pant (29) a chance to bat (6).

As South Africa slowed down, Temba Bavuma ultimately grabbed one off Pretorius to eliminate Pant.

From over 13 to 17, the hosts scored just 20 runs while losing two wickets, but Hardik Pandya got them near to 180 runs with some lusty hits in the late stages.

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