India almost had a perfect start to their three-match T20I series against South Africa, winning the first T20I in Thiruvananthapuram by eight wickets to take a 1-0 lead. India bowled first and pacers Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar ran riot in the first two overs. So much that the Proteas were left with a score of nine runs for the loss of five wickets halfway through the third over.
After that, it was Aiden Markram who held up the South African innings for a while. While Markram ended up being dismissed for just 25 off 25 balls, the Indians seemed to have smelled an opportunity to get him out for even lesser before that, which led to a rather strange DRS being taken.
Arshdeep Singh, who was bowling his third consecutive over after taking three wickets in his first, managed to beat Markram’s outside edge off the third ball. Both him and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant made expressions that said that they knew it is close but not out. However, captain Rohit Sharma first seemed to look elsewhere while making a decision before actually going for the DRS.
Ravi Shastri, the former India head coach who was in the commentary box at the time, pointed out that it was the fielders at cover and extra cover, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, who had asked Rohit to go for it. It was unclear as to why Rohit took their advice to go upstairs without factoring in the reactions of the bowler and the wicketkeeper, who were much closer to the action.
As it turned out, the replays itself showed that there was clear gap between bat and ball. It took some time for the producers to load the ultra edge but the Indian fielders had walked back to their positions by then and Rohit could be seen letting out a weary smile with Pant standing beside him. After the decision was announced Kohli could be seen letting out a smile himself.
Markram eventually fell in the eighth over to Harshal Patel and it was spinner Keshav Maharaj who ended up pushing South Africa to a three-digit score. Kohli and Rohit fell early but the in-form Suryakumar Yadav scored his second consecutive half century with KL Rahul at the other end, who also scored a half century at a strike rate below 100 on the tricky pitch, to lead India to victory.
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