De Kock dazzles as South Africa thump India to level series

By Sports Desk September 22, 2019

South Africa secured a drawn Twenty20 series with India after captain Quinton de Kock inspired a nine-wicket victory in Bengaluru. 

India won the toss and chose to bat but a bright start was checked by a flurry of wickets as they went from 62-1 after seven overs to 134-9 at the end of their innings. 

It was a total that never looked remotely competitive with De Kock clattering five sixes on his way to 79 not out from 52 balls as South Africa reached their target with 19 balls in hand. 

The skipper and Reeza Hendricks (28) shared a 76-run opening partnership before Hardik Pandya had Hendricks caught by India captain Virat Kohli at mid on. 

But South Africa were not knocked out of their stride, Temba Bavuma carrying on where Hendricks left off by making an unbeaten 27 as De Kock went through his repertoire. 

Bavuma finished off the match with a six off Pandya with South Africa sprinting to 140-1. 

India were left to rue wasting their review early on as it left them out of options when Washington Sundar pinned De Kock in front of his stumps in the seventh over, the opener having scored only 28. 

It was ruled not out, but television replays showed the 19-year-old off-spinner's delivery would have hit the stumps. 

The first game in the three-match series had been washed out in Dharamsala before India swept to a seven-wicket win in Chandigarh behind an unbeaten 72 from Kohli. 

In Sunday's T20 series finale, Kohli made just nine off 15 balls. Opener Shikhar Dhawan contributed 36 but there was little further resistance from India's batsmen. 

Kagiso Rabada took 3-39, including the prized scalp of Kohli, while the impressive Beuran Hendricks and Bjorn Fortuin each grabbed a pair of wickets as India lost their way. 

Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks took 2-14 from his four overs and was named man of the match.

India and South Africa play three Tests next, starting in Visakhapatnam on October 2. 

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    Ashton Agar called his hat-trick against South Africa "a highlight of my cricketing life" as his heroics gave the tourists a flying start to their Twenty20 international series.

    At the Wanderers in Johannesburg, left-arm spinner Agar was the unlikely chief destroyer as he finished with figures of 5-24 in a 107-run victory.

    Australia made 196-6 before bowling out South Africa for a meagre 89 in the first of three matches between the teams in the shortest format.

    Agar reduced South Africa from 44-4 to 44-7, and incredibly he almost took a second hat-trick later in the innings, only narrowly missing out on bowling last man Tabraiz Shamsi after taking wickets at the end of the 12th and start of the 14th over.

    "It was really exciting, obviously a highlight of my cricketing life," Agar said at the post-match presentation, where he was named man of the match.

    "But my job's made a lot easier when I've got Mitch Starc, Patty Cummins, Richo [Kane Richardson] and Zamps [Adam Zampa] doing the job before me."

    Agar revealed he was not at his best before the match began, but thrashing 20 not out from nine balls at the end of Australia's innings must have set him right.

    "It's funny, I was actually feeling horrible leading into the game," Agar said.

    The man from Melbourne found it difficult to explain why the day proved such a personal success.

    Trying to pin it down, he said: "I don't know... that self-belief at the top of the mark, to just let it all out and give it your best go.

    "Obviously when the wicket turns a bit, you get a bit of assistance, your job gets a bit easier and you get on a roll and keep going."

    Agar saluted captain Aaron Finch for the brilliant slip catch that clinched the hat-trick, removing Dale Steyn after the spinner earlier prised out Faf du Plessis and Andile Phehlukwayo to tease the big chance.

    Finch appeared more thrilled than Agar as he charged off in celebration.

    "Unbelievable catch, I think he really enjoyed it as well," Agar said. "He was halfway off the ground when I looked over.

    "But great catch, great team performance, good game."

  • Agar takes a stunning hat-trick for Australia - and almost grabs another as spinner rips through South Africa Agar takes a stunning hat-trick for Australia - and almost grabs another as spinner rips through South Africa

    Australia spinner Ashton Agar grabbed a hat-trick as he stole the show in a thumping 107-run Twenty20 win over South Africa at the Wanderers.

    Two years on from the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, which saw both Steve Smith and David Warner banned from the game, much of the pre-match focus was on the Australia star batsmen.

    The duo were returning to action in South Africa for the first time since playing a part in that plot and experienced distinctly mixed fortunes with the bat, before Agar rose to the occasion.

    The 26-year-old Agar reduced South Africa from an already unsteady 44-4 to 44-7 in their response to Australia's 196-6, removing Faf du Plessis, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dale Steyn, and there was no way back from there.

    He remarkably later went close to a second hat-trick, finishing with career-best T20 international figures of 5-24 as South Africa were bowled out for 89.

    South Africa put Australia in after winning the toss in the first game of a three-match series. Captain Aaron Finch made 42 and former skipper Smith top-scored with 45 as four other batsmen made at least 18 runs each.

    Matthew Wade (18), Mitchell Marsh (19), Alex Carey (27) and Agar (20 not out) kept the scoreboard ticking over at a rapid rate, with Lungi Ndidi (37-1) and Kagiso Rabada (45-0) taking a carting.

    Warner went to the second ball of the innings though, Steyn having the left-hander caught at long leg off at top edge.

    Like Australia, South Africa lost an opener in the first over as Mitchell Starc bowled Quinton de Kock with a delicious delivery. But unlike Australia, South Africa did not find the rest of their batting order quite so dependable.

    Du Plessis showed a modicum of resistance as chaos ensued around him, but his own dismissal was the beginning of the end for the Proteas - and the start of something special for Agar.

    A mistimed shot against the left-arm slow bowler found the safe hands of Kane Richardson, before Agar secured an lbw verdict to remove Phehlukwayo.

    Steyn took a lusty swipe at the hat-trick ball but only managed to find an edge and Finch took a fine slip catch, the ball hurtling his way.

    Agar later bowled 33-year-old South Africa debutant Pite van Biljon at the end of the 12th over and had Ngidi caught at long-on from the first ball of the 14th, meaning that outrageously he was on the brink of a second hat-trick in the innings.

    He was a whisker away from bowling Tabraiz Shamsi, but the batsman survived. Adam Zampa had the final say, bowling Rabada, but it was resoundingly Agar's day.

  • Warner not expecting friction between Australia and South Africa Warner not expecting friction between Australia and South Africa

    David Warner is not expecting tensions to boil over when Australia face South Africa in a six-match limited-overs series.

    The Proteas - captained by Quinton de Kock - take on Australia, who host the Twenty20 World Cup later in 2020, in three T20Is and three ODIs, starting on Friday in Johannesburg.

    In an ill-tempered 2018 Test series against South Africa, Warner was suspended, along with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, for his involvement in the tourists' ball-tampering scandal.

    However, Warner, who also became embroiled in sledging matches with South Africa fans, does not feel tempers will flare once again this time around.

    He reasons that, due to the short and sweet nature of the tour, there is not enough time for the teams to forge a rivalry.

    "It's one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket and you don't really have much time over the short period of the time to get underneath each other's skin or anything like that," Warner told reporters.

    "And you don't go out there to do that. Obviously, they [South Africa] had some heated exchanges with the English and that was during the Test matches.

    "For us, our focus is on moving forward and trying to get the wins on the board and send a message to everyone that the World Cup is in our backyard and we want to be a team to be beaten."

    De Kock, in particular, clashed with Warner during the 2018 tour, and South Africa's new white-ball captain is not as certain as Australia's batsman that there would be no bad blood between the sides.

    "If something ignites, maybe if a player decides to take on another player, then maybe the fierceness from both teams will reignite again," de Kock said.

    "Who knows? Maybe not. Maybe we just play the game hard."

    When asked if he and Warner had brushed aside their differences, De Kock said: "We haven't really had any conversations. Me and him have moved on from there.

    "We look to just play cricket. We both love to play the game really hard. I don't think anything will happen. We will just carry on. We won't worry too much about it."

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