Heinrich Klaasen capitalised on his chance selection to smash 81 off 46 balls as South Africa beat India by four wickets in the second Twenty20 International for a 2-0 series lead in Cuttack on Sunday.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed three wickets in the powerplay to reduce South Africa to 29-3 in reply to India’s modest total of 148-6 after being put into bat.
Klaasen, selected after wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock sat out with a hand injury, smashed five sixes and seven fours in his incendiary knock as South Africa romped home with 10 balls remaining.
David Miller scored the winning run for the tourists and remained not out on 20.
“Klaasen’s was a top knock,” Miller said.
“It is very tough to win in India, but we still have a lot of hard work still to do.”
Kumar finished with impressive figures of 4-13 but it was not enough to avert their second successive defeat in the five-match series.
India lost Ruturaj Gaekwad in the very first over but Ishan Kishan (34) and Shreyas Iyer (40) raised their hopes of a big total at the Barabati Stadium.
Once they departed, India’s middle order simply caved in.
Dinesh Karthik smashed an unbeaten 30 down the order but they still fell short of the 150-mark.
Rishabh Pant, leading a depleted India side that was missing several frontline players including regular captain Rohit Sharma and batsmen Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, blamed their batting for the debacle.
“We were 10-15 runs short,” he said at the presentation ceremony.
“Bhuvi and all other fast bowlers though bowled very well… the spinners have to do better.”
The third match will be in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.