Cuttack: South Africa on Monday clinched the Twenty20 series with a comfortable six-wicket win over a lacklustre India in the second match, which was marred by shameful and unruly crowd behaviour here.
The visitors overhauled the 93-run target with 17-balls to spare to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Put into bat, the hosts faltered against a disciplined South African attack to be bowled out for a paltry 92 in 17.2 overs and the crowd, unable to digest the pathetic batting display, started throwing water bottles onto the ground. This was India's second lowest T20 score after their 74 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February 2008.
The spectators at the Barabati Stadium continued to throw bottles during the South African chase but could only delay the inevitable as Proteas cruised to victory.
It was a disgraceful behaviour by the crowd, who did not respond to repeated requests on the public system to keep calm putting a question mark on future cricket matches in the city. The behaviour also tarnished India's image at the cricket venue.
For South Africa it was the bowlers who made the difference, with Albie Morkel (3-12) picking up three and Imran Tahir (2-24) and Chris Morris (2-16) sharing two wickets apiece. After a brisk start provided by openers Shikhar Dhawan (11) and Rohit Sharma (22), the Indian batting lost the plot post some fine bowling and indecisive running by the batsmen.
Dhawan was the first to go after being trapped LBW off Morris, while Virat Kohli (1) and Rohit soon ran themselves out. Leg-spinner Tahir also swung into action by scalping Suresh Raina for 22 as the Men in Blue looked down the barrel at 67 for five.
Morkel, who was drafted into the XI in place of Marchant de Lange, took care of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) and Axar Patel (9) as Tahir and Morris kept up the good work. The Faf du Plessis-led side also lost early wickets as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3-24) tried his best to defend a low score, but the visitors made it look simple in the end.
After the fall of Hashim Amla (2), Faf (16) and AB de Villers (19), Jean-Paul Duminy (30 not out) and Farhaan Behardien (11) made sure that Proteas stay comfortable in the chase. In the end David Miller (10 not out) stayed on with Duminy to get the win.
Chasing a low score, South Africa were 64 for three in 11 overs when during the drinks break the trouble began again as the spectators for the second time started hurling water bottles onto the field, interrupting the proceedings for 19 minutes.
This time, the bottles were thrown more vigorously, and from four galleries in the entire left side of the dressing room as volunteers were pressed into action to clear the area. Finally, the play resumed after repeated pleas from the Odisha Cricket Association over the loudspeaker as South Africa returned to complete the formality.
After just two overs, players and umpires went back into the pavilion with the visitors placed comfortably at 70 for three in 13 overs, ahead by 15 runs as per Duckworth-Lewis calculation. As the play remained stopped, police officials were pressed into action to vacate the troubled galleries, especially the upper tiers from where most of the bottles kept flying in.
This time it took 24 minutes for the play to resume as Duminy and Miller took South Africa home in 17.1 overs in front of empty galleries. It brought to mind the memories of Eden Gardens in the Asian Test Championship, 1999 when Pakistan won the match in front of empty galleries.
But tomorrow is another day and India would be playing for pride in the final match on October 8 in Kolkata.