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Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar power India to comfortable in Johannesburg

Shikhar Dhawan looked fluent in his 39-ball knock
Shikhar Dhawan looked fluent in his 39-ball knock
Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked a five-wicket haul
Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked a five-wicket haul

India 203-5 (Dhawan 72) beat
South Africa 175-9 (Hendricks 70) by 28 runs
First Twenty20 International in Johannesburg

Shikhar Dhawan scored a blistering 70-run knock while Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked a five-wicket haul as India continued their impressive run in South Africa with a 28-run victory in the first Twenty20 International in Johannesburg.

South Africa were dealt a major blow even before the game started with AB de Villiers adding to the injury list and is out of the series but they managed to win the toss and decided to bowl first - considering targets are tough to defend at the venue.

Rohit Sharma (21) started the innings on a confident note, hitting two apiece of sixes and boundaries in the first six deliveries he faced before he edged a delivery from debutant Junior Dala (2-47) behind the stumps. South Africa had to use a review to overturn the decision.

Suresh Raina (15) announced his comeback with a six and a four in the third over before becoming Dala's second victim, when he top edged to the keeper going for an ambitious shot.

However, Shikhar Dhawan (70) plundered three boundaries and six as India ended the powerplay phase with a score of 78 for two. The runs continued to flow and South Africa's trouble compounded when Virat Kohli (26) was dropped at long-on by Farhaan Behardien.

Both Dhawan and Kohli brought their 50-run stand off just 38 deliveries but the Indian skipper could not make his start count as he was trapped LBW by Tabraiz Shamsi (1-37). Meanwhile, Dhawan continued to torment the South African bowlers and completed a a 27-ball fifty.

Dhawan's 39-ball masterful knock had 10 boundaries and two sixes in it but it eventually ended when he nicked a Andile Phehlukwayo (1-16) delivery behind the stumps. As Manish Pandey (29 not out) struggled to get going, India lost MS Dhoni (16) at the other end but Hardik Pandya (13 not out) with his seven-ball cameo pushed the total to 203 for five in the 20 overs.

South Africa started the chase confidently with the openers JJ Smuts (14) and Reeza Hendricks (70) scoring 29 runs off the first 17 deliveries before Bhuvneshwar (4-24) struck to have the former caught. JP Duminy (3) soon became Bhuvneshwar's second victim, though the credit should go to Raina, who judged a high catch running backwards.

South Africa ended the powerplay with a score of 41 for two but with Pandya (1-45) dismissing David Miller (9) they looked in deep trouble but Hendricks and Farhaan Behardien (39) added 81 runs for the fourth wicket to give them some hope.

Despite the partnership, South Africa still faced an uphill task of needing 75 runs off the final five overs and Bhuvneshwar with a splendid 18th over that saw him pick three wickets including that of Hendricks sealed the door for South Africa.

The 28-run victory has provided India with a 1-0 lead in three-match series with Bhuvneshwar claiming the man of the match for his five-wicket haul.

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