A blazing innings by India’s Gautam Gambhir could not prevent a South Africa win in a rain-hit one-off Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.
Gambhir slammed 49 not out off 28 balls as India raced to 71 for no wicket in 7.5 overs in reply to South Africa’s 219 for four in 20 overs.
However, South Africa’s big total meant that India were 11 runs short of the Duckworth/Lewis par score when a thunderstorm broke over the ground.
Jacques Kallis and Colin Ingram shared a rapid century partnership as South Africa posted a formidable total.
“That gave us a really good platform,” stand-in South Africa captain Johan Botha said. “A hundred partnership in any form of cricket is great, but in Twenty20 cricket, it is even better.”
Kallis made 61 off 42 balls and the left-handed Ingram raced to 78 off 50 deliveries after South Africa were sent in to bat. The pair put on 119 of 80 balls for the second wicket.
India captain M.S. Dhoni used eight bowlers, but runs flowed as the batsmen took advantage of a good batting pitch, short boundaries and a fast outfield.
Richard Levi gave the hosts a fast start, hitting four boundaries before being caught at slip for 19 off seven balls.
The Kallis-Ingram stand enabled the later batsmen to go for their shots, with new cap Farhaan Behardien hitting an unbeaten 20 off 11 balls and Justin Ontong 22 off seven, before Albie Morkel, coming in with only three balls remaining, hit Suresh Raina for two sixes and a four.
The run feast continued when India started their innings, with Gambhir hitting seven fours and a six.
However, opening partner Robin Uthappa could only manage 18 off 19 balls, while South Africa opening bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe conceded only 15 runs off three overs.
It was announced after the match that Botha, 29, would be released from his national contract with Cricket South Africa after the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September to take up a two-season contract to captain South Australia in Australian domestic cricket.
The hastily arranged match was billed as an annual fixture for the Friendship Cup and a tribute to South Africa all-rounder Kallis, with profits going to the Jacques Kallis Foundation, which provides scholarships for talented cricketers from under-privileged areas to attend good schools.