South Africa defeated India by four wickets with 10 balls to spare to grab a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20 series here on Sunday, thanks to Heinrich Klaasen’s brilliant and sensible 81. India were sent in to bat on a two-paced Barabati Stadium surface and kept losing wickets at crucial moments until Dinesh Karthik took them to 148 with two sixes in the last over.

South Africa were slowed down by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/13) who grabbed three wickets in the powerplay period, but Klassen continued taking smart chances to rescue the innings with the support of Temba Bavuma and David Miller.

India’s dubious bowling approach, which saw Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel not complete their quota of overs despite averaging 5.66, was a hidden facilitator of South Africa’s successful chase. Rishabh Pant’s decision not to bowl out Kumar early was perhaps not the best decision he made as stand-in captain. Kumar made the ball nip back in humid conditions, forcing opener Reeza Hendricks to play inside the line of the ball and be bowled. Dwaine Pretorius was then taken off guard by a slower ball in the third over. Kumar set up Rassie van der Dussen with two consecutive deliveries in the last over of the powerplay before slipping in an inswinger that beat his bat.

India had tightened the screws by giving only seven runs in the following two overs, pushing the asking rate to over ten, but Klaasen smashed a four and six in Yuzvendra Chahal’s next over to keep it under control. South Africa smashed at least one four or six in every over from the ninth to the sixteenth, but India relieved the strain by sticking with Hardik Pandya, Chahal, and Axar Patel despite warning signals. In the 12th over, Patel was hammered for 14 runs in three deliveries, Pandya was clattered for a six, and Chahal conceded two boundaries before Klaasen carted him for three sixes in the 16th over.