India defeated South Africa by 48 runs in the third T20I of the five-match series on Tuesday at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.

With this win in the decider, India has opened their account in the five-match T20I series. The fourth T20I will be played on Friday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gujarat, with the series remaining 2-1 in favour of the visitors.

Batting first, a 97-run stand between Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) powered India to 179/5 in their allotted 20 overs. The first innings was a see-saw one as India dominated the first half of the innings, but South Africa pulled back momentum to their side in the other half.

In response, the Proteas never seemed to get going, losing wickets at regular intervals until they were swept out for 131 with five balls to go. Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel shone with the ball for Men in Blue, taking three and four wickets respectively to derail the visitors’ pursuit. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel both took one wicket.

South Africa, chasing 180, got off to a terrible start, losing two wickets for 28 runs in the opening six overs. Axar Patel dismissed South Africa captain Temba Bavuma in the fourth over before Harshal Patel defeated Reeza Hendricks on the final ball of the powerplay.

Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Rassie van der Dussen in the seventh over for his first wicket of the encounter before dispatching Dwaine Pretorius in the ninth.

SA were 63/4 at the midway point of the innings, with 117 runs needed from the next ten overs of the chase. The visitors’ uphill task became much more difficult when Chahal struck in the 15th over to dismiss the dangerous-looking Heinrich Klaasen for 29.

Harshal Patel struck in the 17th and last over of the match, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar took one wicket and forced another in the penultimate over to dismiss SA for 131 with five balls remaining.

Earlier, South Africa had sent India in to bat first, and they got off to a good start. In the opening four overs, openers Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad were cautious, rotating the strike with brisk running between wickets and some odd smashes.

In the fifth over, Gaikwad preyed on dangerous bowler Anrich Nortje, hitting him for five fours in a row, providing plenty of momentum to the innings.

By the end of powerplay in six overs, India stood at a great 57/0, with Gaikwad (40*) and Kishan (13*) at the crease.

Gaikwad continued to look good and soon brought up his maiden T20I half-century in 30 balls. Ishan Kishan also continued showing his aggressive intent with the bat, combining it with some good strike rotation.

The Proteas got a breakthrough at the final ball of the 10th over, dismissing Gaikwad for 57 off 35. Spinner Keshav Maharaj caught and bowled the opener by taking a great diving catch.

At the end of 10 overs, India stood at 971, with Kishan (36*). This brought Shreyas Iyer to the crease. He smashed Nortje for a huge six in the 11th over to get off the mark. Kishan continued dominating Proteas bowlers, hitting Maharaj for 4,6,4 in the final three balls of the 12th over to bring up his second fifty of the series off just 30 balls.

Iyer survived a leg before wicket attempt off-spinner Tabrez Shamsi’s delivery in the 13th over. However, Proteas staged a mini-comeback by taking his wicket two balls later for 14 off 11.

This brought captain Rishabh Pant to the crease. Pretorius got Kishan for 54 of 35, getting his side second wicket in two overs. Kishan tried to play it big over deep extra cover but was caught by Reeza Hendricks. This brought the vice-captain, Hardik Pandya, to the crease.

At the end of 15 overs, India stood at 138/3 with Pandya (4*) and Pant (4*). Captain Pant registered another failure in his outing as a skipper, getting out for only 6 off a Pretorious delivery after being caught by SA skipper Temba Bavuma.

At 143/4, India seemed to have lost quite a lot of momentum gathered in the first ten overs. Dinesh Karthik was up next to bat. He could not replicate his finishing mode from the last game and was sent back for just 6 by Kagiso Rabada after being caught by Wayne Parnell at third man.

With some hits from Pandya (31*) and new batter Axar Patel (5*), India finished the innings at 179/5 in their 20 overs. Dwaine Pretorius was the leading bowler for South Africa, with 2/29 in four overs. Rabada, Shamsi and Maharaj also got a wicket each.

Brief Scores: India 179/5 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 57, Ishan Kishan 54, Dwaine Pretorius 2/29) vs South Africa (Heinrich Klaasen 29, Reeza Hendricks 23; Harshal Patel 4-25).

Former India cricketer Suresh Raina congratulated Team India for an ‘outstanding display’ of skills in the third T20I against South Africa on Tuesday.