Vice-captain Shreyas Iyer struck a magnificent 113 not out while Ishan Kishan slammed a scintillating 93 to give India an emphatic seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the second ODI at JSCA International Stadium on Sunday.
After a late fightback from India meant South Africa were restricted to posting 278/7 in their 50 overs despite Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks making 79 and 74 respectively, Iyer and Kishan shared a match-winning stand of 161 off 154 balls and thwarted every challenge in their way to square the series 1-1.
In the pursuit of chasing 279, India lost openers Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill in the first ten overs. While Dhawan saw his off-stump uprooted by Wayne Parnell for the second time in as many matches, Gill -- with his impressive flicks, and drives -- failed to keep the loft down and gave Kagiso Rabada a chance to take a sharp catch off his own bowling.
Iyer was the initial aggressor, punching Parnell through wide of point for four, before taking a brace of fours off Anrich Nortje -- a cut through the third man was followed by a glorious cover drive. Kishan stepped up when he pulled Keshav Maharaj over deep mid-wicket for six, before dancing down the pitch twice to smack a brace of sixes in the same region in the 21st over.
Iyer's onslaught continued when he took two fours off part-timer Aiden Markram while taking another four off left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin. After the duo reached their fifties on successive deliveries in the 26th over and the century of the third-wicket stand brought up, their carnage over South Africa's bowlers picked up the pace.
While Iyer picked boundaries against Parnell and Rabada for fun, Kishan was showing his hitting prowess by nailing crunchy pulls and heaves through the leg side off Fortuin, Rabada and Nortje.
His phenomenal run at the crease ended when he pulled off the thick inner edge to deep mid-wicket off Fortuin, falling seven short of his maiden century on his home turf off 84 balls, hitting four fours and seven sixes.
Despite being hurt by cramps, Iyer was placing his boundaries with excellent timing -- one of which was slapped over extra cover for four off Rabada to give him his second century in the format.
Incidentally, Iyer finished off the chase with a four steered in the gap between backward point and short third man off Nortje, remaining unconquered on 113 off 111 balls, backed by 15 fours. Sanju Samson gave him good support by remaining unbeaten on 30 and sending the series to a decider in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Brief scores: South Africa 278/7 in 50 overs (Aiden Markram 79, Reeza Hendricks 74; Mohammed Siraj 3/38, Shardul Thakur 1/36) lost to India 282/3 in 45.5 overs (Shreyas Iyer 113 not out, Ishan Kishan 93; Wayne Parnell 1/44, Bjorn Fortuin 1/52) by seven wickets