India defeated South Africa by seven runs in the third Twenty20 International to win the series 2-1, here today. India then restricted the hosts for 165 for six to end the challenging tour on a high.
Meanwhile, Suresh Raina clobbered South African bowlers with a 27-ball 43 but India could not exploit a flourishing start and settled for 172 for seven in the series-deciding third Twenty20 at Newlands, here today.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with 47 off 40 balls as India struggled to push the accelerator button on a slowish Newlands track.
Dhawan and Raina put on 65 runs for the second wicket and spearheaded the Indian innings. But the visitors never really hit fifth gear and the innings was patchy throughout as compared to the previous two games.
This was after skipper Virat Kohli was ruled out of the deciding match of the series. He had warmed up before the game, but didn't turn up for the toss due to stiff back. Rohit Sharma led the side.
Put into bat for the third consecutive time in this T20 series, Rohit Sharma (11) was off the blocks quickly taking 13 runs off Chris Morris' (2/43) first over.
Junior Dala (3/35) though got Rohit out for the third time in three matches, trapping him lbw on the third ball of his first over. The batsman chose not to review even as the umpire did check for a no ball.
Raina though upped the tempo immediately after coming to the crease. With a flurry of boundaries, he and Dhawan took India to 57/1 in the first six overs and their 50-partnership came off 37 balls.
South Africa changed their bowling around quite a bit and JP Duminy (0-22) bowled a tight first spell that dropped India's run-rate down to 8.5/over before the half-stage of their innings.
It also didn't help that Raina holed out off Tabraiz Shamsi (1-31) and was caught at long on.
Dhawan wasn't timing the ball too well, and couldn't make a tall score despite gaining two lives. Shamsi had dropped him twice, on nine in the sixth over off Morris at short third man and then at 34 in the 13th over off Aaron Phangiso (0/13).
He helped India past 100 in the 12th over even as the run-rate was maintained over 8 per over. But now the visitors were looking to accelerate, evident from Dhawan's stroke play and Manish Pandey's (13) efforts.
The duo put on 32 runs for the third wicket before Pandey was caught in the deep off Dala in the 14th over. It became a quick double-blow as Dhawan too departed 12 balls later, run-out off Dala as he was involved in a mix-up with Hardik Pandya (21 off 17 balls).
Pandya had been sent up to provide acceleration to the innings but it never really came as he and MS Dhoni (12 off 11 balls) pushed the score past 150 in the 19th over. But a flurry of wickets came late in the innings.
Dhoni, Pandya and Dinesh Karthik (13) fell in the space of 8 balls as South Africa topped up a controlled display with the ball.