The pace was much slower, and the ball given much more air than the previous ones. David Miller swung across the line and had his middle stump knocked back. It was a beautiful piece of leg-spin bowling and could have been the series-clinching delivery, only if Yuzvendra Chahal had managed to keep his foot behind the front line.
He hadn’t. Miller was on seven then and had already been dropped by Shreyas Iyer on the leg-side boundary earlier in the over. Chahal had been taken to the cleaners by AB de Villiers in his previous over, which went for 17 runs. But after Hardik Pandya had accounted for the returning Protea superstar, Chahal and partner-in-crime Kuldeep Yadav were expected to run through the rest of the batting. If only…
Miller’s ouster at that juncture would have reduced the hosts to 106/5, needing 96 off 60 balls in a target recalibrated according to the Duckworth-Lewis System, with all their specialist batsmen back in the pavilion.
As it turned out Miller and the previously little-known Heinrich Klaaasen kept South Africa alive in the six-match series with a 72-run fifth-wicket stand off just 41 balls, and a chase that looked to be doomed at one stage was completed with 15 balls to spare.
“We did not grab our chances. You have to take your chances in this game, no balls are a fine line as well. We did not deserve to win,” skipper Virat Kohli said after the match. “No balls are always something that hurts you as a team but you can’t be too hard on the boys. They try their best out there in the middle and mistakes do happen.”
Klaasen is considered a big hitter in South African domestic cricket, but his debut ODI three days ago in Cape Town saw him potter around for a 12-ball 6 batting at No.4. The 27-ball 43 came out of left field and took the Indians completely by surprise.