New Delhi: Ishan Kishan struck a scintillating 76 off 48 balls before new skipper Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya’s pyrotechnics propelled India to an imposing 211 for 4 in the first T20I against South Africa here on Thursday. While Kishan dazzled at the top, Pant (29 off 16) and Pandya (31 not out 12) went ballistic in the slog overs, adding 46 runs to take India past 200.
India were off to a bright start after being asked to bat. The hosts plundered 13 runs off the first over with Kishan hitting back-to-back fours as South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma opted to open with spinner Keshav Maharaj.
Rectifying his mistake, Bavuma bought pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada into the attack, who restricted the scoring giving away two runs in the following over.
Kishan seemed to be struggling with Anrich Nortje’s pace but alongside Rituraj Gaikwad (23) kept on stealing boundaries and sixes with ease at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
Gaikwad was dropped on 17 by Dwayne Pretorius in the beginning of the seventh over. However, the right hander couldn’t capitalise on the reprieve as he was caught at midwicket by Bavuma off Wayne Parnell, who made a comeback to the South African side for the first time since 2017.
Kishan and new-man Shreyas Iyer (36) continued to score runs at will as India raced to 100 runs in 9.4 overs.
The visitors also seemed a tad sloppy on the field, missing catches and a stumping opportunity.
Iyer hit Tabraiz Shamsi for a couple of sixes over long on.
Kishan brought up his third T20 fifty in style as he whacked Maharaj for a six over dip midwicket. In the groove, he then took the spinner to the cleaners in his next over launching the ball for back-to-back sixes before hitting two fours.
However, Maharaj finally redeemed himself as Ishan hit the length ball straight in the hands of David Miller at wide long-on. Iyer too depart soon after.
Captain Pant and his deputy Pandya, who returned to the side after leading his side Gujarat Titans to the IPL title, then hit a flurry of fours and sixes to provide the final flourish.