BENGALURU (Reuters) - South Africa fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Beuran Hendricks helped restrict India to a low total and set up a comfortable series-levelling nine-wicket win for the touring side in the third and final Twenty20 international on Sunday.
The hosts, who won the second T20 to take a 1-0 lead in the series after a washout in the first match, managed a below par 134-9 in their 20 overs after captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium.
South Africa captain Quinton de Kock scored a second straight fifty in the series and remained unbeaten on 79 to help his side chase down the target with 19 balls to spare.
De Kock, who made 52 at Mohali, and Reeza Hendricks scored 76 for the opening stand to stub out India’s hopes of early wickets and any chance of a fight.
Reeza was dismissed for 28 but the South Africa skipper put the hosts’ bowlers to the sword, smashing five sixes and six fours in his 52-ball knock.
Earlier, Hendricks dismissed dangerous India opener Rohit Sharma early and picked up another wicket to finish with impressive bowling figures of 2-14 from his four overs.
Rabada did not have a great start, bowling wides on his first three deliveries, and conceded 17 runs in his opening over but recovered well to finish with 3-39.
South Africa spinners Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi also kept things tight, conceding 42 runs in seven overs between them while picking up three wickets.
Shikhar Dhawan, who top-scored for the hosts with 36, and Kohli appeared to have steadied the ship for India with a 41-run stand after the early loss of Rohit.
But Dhawan and Kohli, who made nine, fell in quick succession and India needed their middle order to stand up and guide the side to a competitive total.
Left-arm spinner Fortuin put paid to those hopes by dismissing Rishabh Pant, who made 19, and Shreyas Iyer (5) in the same over.
There were no heroics from the lower order either as India struggled to hit boundaries at a ground known to be a high-scoring venue.
The two sides will next play three tests, starting with the opening match at Visakhapatnam from Oct. 2.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ken Ferris