India carry their ODI form to the T20s as the Proteas wilt

18 February 2018 - 18:30 By Liam Del Carme
Junior Dala of South Africa celebrates with teammates the wicket of Rohit Sharma of India during the 2018 T20 match between South Africa and India at Wanderers Cricket Stadium, Johannesburg on 18 February 2018.
Junior Dala of South Africa celebrates with teammates the wicket of Rohit Sharma of India during the 2018 T20 match between South Africa and India at Wanderers Cricket Stadium, Johannesburg on 18 February 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

If the Gupta Brothers wanted to go undetected on a balmy Sunday afternoon in Jozi‚ all they needed to do was stroll down Corlett Drive and sweet talk their way into the first T20 international against India.

From far and wide the visiting team garnered fervent and feverish support as they set about carrying their ODI form into the abbreviated white ball format.

You could argue‚ the number of India flags outnumbered South Africa's proportional to population.

In fact‚ 23 834 souls made it through the turnstiles‚ most of whom were in raucous support of the tourists even before they got to their seats.

Here the Guptas‚ of course‚ are no strangers to the Long Room‚ where they were once fêted while in tow to the country's erstwhile No1. Or was it the other way around?

The brothers' grim reputation is well earned.

Their nefarious relationship extended as far as effectively having a seat on Cricket South Africa's board‚ so it is hardly surprising that their interest is yet to be completely dislodged with some of its last vestiges still visible at Kingsmead.

Here on Sunday‚ however‚ there was looting of a different kind as India cashed in early.

Rohit Sharma took a shining to Dane Paterson as the Indians plundered 18 off the first over.

Later Shikhar Dhawan‚ who scored a scratchy ton on his last visit to the Wanderers' middle‚ operated in concern with captain and batting virtuoso Virat Kohli as the pair added 59 off 35 deliveries.

There was the obligatory Kohli referral when he was struck on the pad by Tabraiz Shamsi and the outcome had many in the crowd with hands on head.

And that was just for Shamsi's celebration.

Dhawan went on to score 72 and by the time Proteas captain JP Duminy had to call on his death bowlers he might well have been mildly suicidal.

Paterson had conceded 31 runs in his first two overs and by then the foreigners had him bleeding like an ailing parastatal.

South Africa had plenty to do.

The last time these sides converged on the Wanderers rain played favourably into the Proteas' hands.

It certainly helped them avert what was shaping to be an ODI series white wash.

Facing a daunting task the Proteas were perhaps in need of heavenly intervention.

Reeza Hendricks (70‚ off 50 balls) and Farhaan Behardien (39‚ 27 balls) provided a flicker of hope but in the absence of a buffalo owning heavy hitter they simply had no chance.


X