Rassie van der Dussen (75 not out) and David Miller (64 not out) stitched an unbeaten 131-run stand to take South Africa to a seven-wicket win over India in the series opener at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.
After Ishan Kishan's 76 and finishing touches from captain Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya powered India to 211/4, South Africa were in trouble at 81/3 in 8.4 overs, despite a whirlwind Dwaine Pretorius cameo in power-play.
That's when Miller and van der Dussen joined forces to forge an unbroken stand, enough for the visitors to record their highest chase in T20Is and put an end to India's 12-match winning streak in the format.
The seven-wicket win also means that South Africa are now 1-0 up in the five-match series.
The pursuit of 212 began with captain Temba Bavuma whipping Avesh Khan off his wrists through square leg for four before moving across and scooping over fine leg for another boundary. But Bavuma's promising stay was ended by a Bhuvneshwar Kumar leg-cutter in the third over, which the South Africa skipper nicked behind to Pant.
South Africa's gamble to send Dwaine Pretorius at three worked well in their favour when he blasted 29 runs off 13 balls. He began by punching Bhuvneshwar crisply through cover before slog-sweeping Yuzvendra Chahal for a huge six over cow corner.
Pretorius then tore into Hardik Pandya in the fifth over, muscling him for three sixes over fine leg, deep mid-wicket and deep square leg as South Africa soared to 60/1 in just five overs. Harshal Patel became India's fifth over in power-play and brought Pretorius' cameo with a dipping full toss beating the bat and crashing into off-stump.
Quinton de Kock never got going in his innings of 22 and swept straight to long-leg off Axar Patel in the ninth over. David Miller's introduction quickened South Africa's scoring pace, slicing Harshal square through the off-side for four, followed by flicking nonchalantly over deep square leg for six.
Miller then creamed Axar for a four through cover and dispatched left-arm spinner for sixes over long-off and mid-wicket to take 19 runs off the 13th over. He then dished out boundaries against Bhuvneshwar, pulling between deep mid-wicket and long-on for four before lofting effortlessly over long-off for six. Miller closed the 15th over by reaching his fifty in 22 balls, keeping South Africa in the hunt.
Rassie van der Dussen, dropped on 29 by Shreyas Iyer, shed his cautious self by slamming Harshal for back-to-back sixes over long-on and backward square leg in the 17th over before pulling an outside the off-stump delivery through mid-wicket for four. He then brought up his fifty in 37 balls with a flat pulled six over deep mid-wicket in an over which yielded 22 runs.
Miller brought up the century of his fourth wicket association with van der Dussen with a clean heaved six over deep mid-wicket off Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over. Van der Dussen then slog-swept Bhuvneshwar high over deep mid-wicket for six and amassed back-to-back fours through square of the wicket on the off-side to take South Africa closer to victory.
The duo knocked off the remaining 12 runs easily, with van der Dussen finishing off the chase, reverse sweeping Chahal for four to open their series with a win.
Brief Scores: India 211/4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 76, Shreyas Iyer 36; Wayne Parnell 1/32, Dwaine Pretorius 1/35) lost to South Africa 212/3 in 19.1 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 75 not out, David Miller 64 not out; Axar Patel 1/40, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/43) by seven wickets. IANS