clinch series

India's players celebrate after winning the third T20 cricket match between India and South Africa at the Newlands Cricket Ground on Feb. 24, 2018 in Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — India held on amid a late barrage from newcomer Christiaan Jonker to win the final Twenty20 against South Africa by seven runs Feb. 24, clinching the series 2-1 and sealing a winning end to its tour.

India held its nerve despite Jonker’s 49 from 24 balls right at the end, which gave South Africa a glimmer of hope after it was down and out at 114-5 in the 17th over chasing 173 to win.

Jonker battered five fours and two sixes to bring the equation down to 12 off the last three balls, but he couldn’t quite steal what would have been an against-the-odds win. On his international debut, Jonker was caught off the last ball to deny him a half-century as South Africa finished on 165-6.

India’s 172-7 was set up by Shikhar Dhawan’s 47 and Suresh Raina’s 43, and India claimed its series-deciding win without captain Virat Kohli, who missed his first game of the tour with a stiff back.

Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar closed it out for India by keeping his cool in the final over to take 2-24.

India lost the test series 2-1, but won back a significant amount of pride with a convincing 5-1 win in the one-day international series and topped it off with the T20 series.

Without Kohli, Dhawan and Raina set India to a decent but not outstanding total at Newlands with a 65-run stand for the second wicket. Hardik Pandya contributed a handy 21 off 17.

South Africa was well off the pace despite JP Duminy’s 55. Needing to accelerate rapidly in the late overs, Duminy and Chris Morris fell in the space of an over to leave South Africa 114-5 and needing 59 off 21 balls.

Jonker’s clean hitting on debut nearly got the home team there. South Africa needed 18 off the last over but although Kumar’s second ball went for four, he kept it tight after that and India ended the two-month tour victorious. Jonker sliced a full toss to extra cover off the last ball in the final act and stand-in captain Rohit Sharma took the catch.

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