Another clinical win for South Africa in the ongoing five-match T20 series, where India suffered a second loss on Sunday night. South Africa was leading after the 1st match with the highest total chased ever, and they could easily chase down the 149-run target with 4 wickets and 10 balls remaining.
Indian batters failed to make a significant contribution to the match apart from Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Dinesh Karthik. The decision of Pant to hold back Dinesh Karthik to send in Axar Patel finds fault with many fans because Karthik tried hard to help India put up fighting in the last overs. While Patel could manage only 10 runs off 11 balls, Karthick, with 5 overs left, scored 30 off 21 balls.
“It’s definitely something we have strategized earlier as well. We had seven overs left and Axar Patel is someone who can take singles, who can keep rotating the strike”, Shreyas Iyer replied to the criticisms after the match. Iyer’s 40 off 35 balls being the saving grace of India at the top-order.
The batsmen couldn’t even figure out how exactly the pitch was behaving and Iyer, the maximum scorer in the match even find it tough to bat in that condition. The brilliant bowling from South Africa easily restricted Team India to score on that pitch.
In reply, Heinrich Klaasen’s superb 81 runs off 6 balls furnished with seven fours and five sixes made the game on their side as they knocked off the runs in 18.2 overs. That’s the fourth T20I fifty for Klaasen. Klaasen, the player of the match, says it was the morning before the game day that he knew he was going to play this game. He knew the pitch was tricky, but he realized his role in the match and made the team double the lead. Harshal gets the wicket of Klaasen, but it was too late a wicket for India.
South Africa was able to extract more out of that pitch with extra bounce. As Mike Haysman highlighted once, the height of South Africa’s release points is the key difference between the two team’s pace attacks.
The Indian pace attack was led by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the absence of Bumrah, but the pacers were responsible for the leaking of runs.
The series is actually a preparation for themselves for the upcoming T20 World Cup in India. South Africa started it on a positive note. Now the 3rd T20 is crucial for India. This is a must-win for the team to keep themselves alive in the series. Rishab Pant and the team will have lots of work to do to make a comeback in the next game. The next game will be played in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, 14th of June.
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