An outstanding team effort in the field followed by an assured run chase saw South Africa level their three-match T20I series against India with a resounding nine-wicket win in Bengaluru.
Coming into the final match of the series after defeat in Mohali against a Virat Kohli-inspired India, South Africa turned things around in resounding fashion.
India actually started proceedings in the same way they left off in the second T20I. The second over of the innings, bowled by Kagiso Rabada, went for 17 runs as Rabada took time to find his rhythm, uncharacteristically sending down three consecutive wides at the start of his spell.
Quinton de Kock, in just his second match as T20I skipper, showed proactive thinking early on, using four different bowlers for the first four overs of the India innings. His rotation policy reaped early rewards as Beuran Hendricks, who ended with figures of 2/12 from his allotted four overs, had Rohit Sharma caught by his namesake Reeza in the slips.
That wicket brought Kohli to the crease and alongside Shikhar Dhawan, they quickly built a dangerous looking partnership with Dhawan in particular looking in an ominous mood. His dismissal, looking to attack Tabraiz Shamsi, changed the course of the India innings. After a few tight overs, India soon found themselves 93/5 not too long after looking steady on 63/1.
The flurry of wickets allowed South Africa to exercise control over the scoring rate as India clearly reined in their attacking intent to ensure that they would bat out the 20 overs. Kagiso Rabada finished the innings superbly for the tourists, showcasing admirable resilience following his disappointing start to the day taking two wickets, those of Ravi Jadeja and Hardik Pandya, in the final over to restrict India to an under par 134/9.
South Africa showed great maturity in the early stages of their run chase, knowing full well that if they kept wickets in hand they would be firm favourites to level the series. Just 19 runs were scored off the first four overs but crucially both openers, Hendricks and de Kock, remained at the crease.
De Kock then upped the ante when Navdeep Saini was introduced into the attack, hitting two of his first three deliveries into the stands. The first shot, a dismissive strike over square leg, was a real statement of intent from the Proteas skipper.
Hendricks eventually fell to an outstanding catch from Kohli for 28 but at that stage, South Africa were well on top on 76/1 from 10 overs. De Kock batted with fine grace as he first passed 50 and then reach a career high score in T20I cricket. Temba Bavuma finished the game off with a maximum, puling Krunal Pandya into the stands to deal a nine-wicket win with 19 balls remaining.
The attention of both sides now turns to the Test leg of the tour which starts on October 2nd in Visakhapatnam.