Sports: Despite crowd trouble, S Africa cruise to win 2nd T20

(From IANS)

Unhappy with India’s dismal batting performance of 92 all out in the first innings against South Africa, angry spectators hurled water bottles into the Barabati Stadium during the second Twenty20 international in Cuttack Monday.

The second Twenty 20 cricket match between India and South Africa was suspended on Monday after fans, angry about the performance of the home team, started hurling plastic bottles on to the ground.

Unruly crowd led to suspension of second T20 cricket match between India and S Africa

Put into bat, India were bundled in just 17.2 overs, to record their second-lowest total in T20 internationals. Their lowest was 74 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February 2008.

As India collapsed, fans vented their fury by throwing water bottles from the galleries three and four of the stadium, continuing to do so unabated in the innings break.

During South Africa’s chase, play was held up at 65/3, with players sitting down and huddling near the pitch to stay safely away from the bottles being thrown.

After 20-odd minutes, play was resumed, only to be held up again a few minutes later as match referee Chris Broad came out to discuss the situation with security officials, police, as well as South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.

Bottles are incidentally banned in most of the venues in India where water is supplied in pouches but an Odisha Cricket Association official said in Barabati Stadium, the situation is different. “We have banned small water bottles and water pouches which can travel more distance than a big size bottle which is not banned here,” an OCA official told PTI.

Thankfully the bottles did not invade the playing area and fell on the practice surface outside the fence near the dressing room. There were also repeated announcements from the OCA to pacify the spectators and the match began without any further interruption.

South African cricket captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl first in the second Twenty20 international of the three-match series in Cuttack on Friday, saying he expected dew but admitted he was ‘indecisive’ of what to do if he were to win the toss.

India made just one change to the squad they fielded in the first T20 in Dharamsala, with spinner Harbhajan Singh replacing newcomer Sreenath Aravind. For the Proteas, Albie Morkel replaced Marchant de Lange.

Kagiso Rabada got a wicket in his final over, with a low full toss on leg stump that Ambati Rayudu swung at and missed, getting bowled in the process. Along with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma also fell run out. A good length ball by Morkel outside off was hit by Rohit with soft hands to cover. He set off for a single but David Miller picked up the ball quickly and fired in an accurate underarm throw to the bowler’s end. Rohit was too slow to beat the direct-hit throw.

Chris Morris was the first to strike, with Shikhar Dhawan striding across and already through his shot before a slower delivery on off could reach him. He was struck on the pads and given the marching orders by the umpire.

The hosts suffered a morale-crushing, seven-wicket defeat in the opening match of the tour in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, when the Proteas capitalised on poor performance by the Indian bowlers to overhaul the challenging 200-run target.

The Indian batsmen had done well in the first T20 as a century from Rohit Sharma and a quickfire knock from Virat Kohli enabled the hosts to post the big total in 20 overs. But despite employing three pacers, the Indian bowling attack was unable to come up with the goods on a grassy wicket which offered plenty of bounce and movement.

(For scores, statistics and commentary, click here)

Of the five bowlers employed by Indian captain Mahendra singh Dhoni, four had economy rates of 10 runs an over or more. Leg-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed the prized wicket of AB de Villiers, was the most economical with a rate of 6.5.

The South Africans rode on excellent batting from JP Duminy (68) and AB de Villiers (51) to cruise to victory with two balls to spare. Duminy had virtually sealed the fate of the match when he smashed three successive sixes off Axar Patel in the 16th over. His unbroken partnership of 105 with Farhaan Behardien (32) helped carry the Proteas through.

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