A deathly opening spell of swing bowling isn’t the most common occurrence in T20Is but when the pitch is as green as it was in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, anything else would be a shame. A second-string Indian pace attack moved the ball every which way to provide a highlight reel for the ages.
The Men in Blue had won the toss in the first T20I against South Africa and decided to field given the lush green pitch on offer in Thiruvananthapuram, making it very evident that something exciting was brewing in the air. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah due to a niggle, Deepak Chahar was given the new ball who was playing only his second T20I since February owing to an injury.
To raise the curtains, the 30-year-old produced a short-pitched delivery which came back in sharply towards Quinton de Kock, giving a sign of things to come. The next delivery moved away from the left-hander, a reminder from the quick of his abilities to extract movement in any direction as Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma now took strike. The next three deliveries had the right-hander dancing on the crease trying to get bat on the ball before a searing inswinger on the last ball of the over uprooted his middle stump, leaving Bavuma looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Arshdeep Singh wanted a piece of the action as well and boy did he deliver with one of the best overs of the year. Two wild outswingers to left-handers de Kock and Rilee Rossouw saw them return to the pavilion in the space of four balls but it all peaked on the first delivery faced by David Miller. Expecting another ball that shapes away from the bat, the veteran tried to take a step forward only for the white rock to project inwards vehemently and knock the bails off the stumps.
Taking inspiration from his fellow pacer, Chahar sprung a surprise of his own the next over with a short and wide delivery to Tristan Stubbs, cut straight down the throat of third man. After 2.3 overs, South Africa's score read a sensational 9-5, with four batsmen departing without troubling the scorers. Talk about an exhibition of swing bowling.
BCCI (@BCCI) September 28, 2022