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South Africa win T20Is in India

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Winning the T20I series was a great way for South Africa to kick off the tour. India batted well in the first T20I, almost making a 200+ total, but let themselves down in the second T20I. South Africa on the other hand starred with both bat and ball, having chased down 200 and dismissed India for 92, their second lowest T20I score. Those were cold nights in Dharamsala and Cuttack.

When people speak of T20 cricket in India, the IPL comes to mind. Yes, India had an assortment of IPL players in their set up, but only Rohit Sharma came to the party. India disappointed themselves and their supporters.

 

Although the tour is not over yet, one of the things discussed extensively was whether the bowlers would be able to get wickets or not. Both the pace and spin bowlers were able to make an impact in the T20Is. Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris bowled aggressively and sent the Indians some bouncers to deal with.

In the second T20I, MS Dhoni decided to bowl both his spinners at the start of the South African innings. In just two overs, Ashwin conceded 5 runs, claimed a wicket and got the ball to turn (something the South Africans couldn’t do). By the end of his spell, he had taken 3 wickets for just 24 runs. Ashwin ended the T20I series as India’s leading T20I wicket taker with 29 wickets under his belt.

Although South Africa lost three of their wickets in the Ashwin spell, they handled his bowling well and managed to sneak in those singles.

Imran Tahir was smashed to all corners of the stadium in the first T20I but turned it around in the second. With the tail exposed, Tahir was on a hat-trick (although he didn’t get it) after dismissing Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, courtesy a Tahir googly.

On the batting front, Rohit Sharma was sensational in the first T20I. He scored his first T20I century (106 off 66 balls), and naturally his highest T20I score.

With Virat Kohli, Sharma scored a record partnership of 138 runs, where Kohli became the first Indian batsman to reach 1,000 runs in T20I cricket.

There’s no disputing that Sharma showed pure class in his innings. However, JP Duminy was the better batsman. After India posted that mammoth total of 199, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla laid the foundation which allowed Duminy and Farhaan Behardien to take the innings home. Together they rotated the strike while building a much needed partnership. Duminy’s 3 consecutive sixes revived South Africa’s run chase, and their 105 run partnership won it for South Africa and gave Duminy the man of the match award.

In the second T20I, Duminy did it again. He became the second batsman to reach 1,500 runs and was not dismissed in the series. His experience and ability to finish the innings for South Africa quite rightly got him the man of the series award.

When it came to running between the wickets, South Africa was the better side. Apart from de Villiers running Amla out in the first T20I, they were excellent between the wickets while India just couldn’t get it right and lost a couple of wickets due to poor running.

Unfortunately for Dhoni, he lost his 50th match as captain in the first T20I. However, both captains were very tactical with their bowling, and both followed a similar pattern when deploying their bowlers. They rotated their bowlers to see what worked for either pitch. In the second T20I, they had their spin bowlers bowling upfront.

The surprise, but very effective, inclusion was Albie Morkel. He had just arrived in India, attended only one practice session, and was able to show his experience in the second T20I. He kept his deliveries tight, didn’t concede many runs and finished with figures of 3-12, with two of those wickets falling in one over.

“He’s old,” they said. Was there no one else to fill the position, they asked. For months he thought he wouldn’t play for South Africa again but when he played his 50th cap, he claimed the man of the match award.

Listening to what the analysts said on Inside Edge, South Africa should stick to the younger guys in the T20I format, especially heading into the ICC T20 World Cup. They shouldn’t tamper with it because it works. And they know it works because South Africa went to India, took them on and won a series. Yes, India’s going through a transitional phase, but T20 cricket should be their strength.

The first part of the tour is done and dusted, with South Africa winning the series 2-0. The focus will now be on the 5 One Day Internationals. In the post-match presentation of the final, abandoned T20I, Dhoni hinted on the route he will likely take. He said that he doesn’t want the pitches to have a lot of grass because his spinners will be ineffective. So he’ll be banking on his spinners as they try to put the T20I loss behind them.

 


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Thobeka ‘Beks’ Ngema. A cricket and football blogger who fell in love with both sports but event...

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