On the back of a blistering 55 from Dinesh Karthik and Avesh Khan scalping 4/18, India thrashed South Africa by 82 runs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday.
Despite losing the toss for the fourth time in a row, India ended up on the winning side, meaning that the hosts squared the five-match series 2-2, with Sunday's match at Bengaluru now a winner takes it all affair.
After Karthik's career-best efforts of 27-ball 55, hitting nine fours and two sixes at a strike-rate of 203.7 apart from sharing a 65-run stand off 33 balls with Hardik Pandya (46 off 31 balls) propelled India to a competitive 169/6, South Africa were never in the chase from the word go, with only three batters reaching double figures and crashed to 87 all out in 16.5 overs.
With India's bowlers hitting hard lengths consistently, seamers finding variable bounce and spinners keeping things tight while getting hint of turn, it was difficult for South Africa to chase 170. It was the bounce which hit captain Temba Bavuma on the shoulder off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But while taking a single off Avesh Khan, Bavuma injured his left elbow and had to retire hurt for eight.
With the visitors struggling with their timing and Bavuma leaving the crease, one could feel that South Africa could slip in trouble. A massive mix-up for a quick single resulted in Quinton de Kock run-out for 14.
In the next over, Dwaine Pretorius tried to break free from dot-ball pressure by slogging but was caught behind off Avesh Khan for a six-ball duck.
Heinrich Klassen survived an lbw appeal on umpire's call off Axar Patel in the eighth over. But in the next over, he failed to connect with the sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal and was trapped plumb in front of stumps. David Miller was the next batter to fall as Harshal got one to jag in and uproot the off-stump. In the 14th over, Avesh ensured that the South African challenge was as good as over.
He had Rassie van der Dussen holing out to deep mid-wicket, then rattled Marco Jansen with a bouncer and got him holing out to the same region on the very next ball.
Avesh closed the over by having Keshav Maharaj caught easily at mid-on. Chahal and Axar wrapped up the innings by taking a wicket each to complete India's thrashing of the Proteas.
Brief Scores: India 169/6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 55, Hardik Pandya 46; Lungi Ngidi 2/20, Anrich Nortje 1/21) beat South Africa 87/9 in 16.5 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 20, Quinton de Kock 14, Avesh Khan 4/18, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/21) by 82 runs