India’s back-to-back losses in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa have raised quite a few fingers on Rishabh Pant’s captaincy. Eventually, the team management has also fallen under scrutiny after the dismal shows in Delhi and Cuttack.
On Sunday night, the hosts suffered a 4-wicket loss and are now reeling 0-2 in the series. The batters did an exceptional job in the series opener in Delhi last week but the 2nd encounter witnessed Team India’s collective failure.
Started off well with the ball, taking three wickets in the powerplay, India lost the momentum when a steady 64-run partnership off 41 balls between Klassen and captain Temba Bavuma stabilised the innings for South Africa. After the departure of Bavuma in the second ball of the 13th over, Klassen took over and guided South Africa to a comprehensive win, taking a 2-0 lead in the series.
Meanwhile, former pacer Zaheer Khan spoke about the game and opined that head coach Rahul Dravid needs to have a strong word with the team after the consecutive losses. During a discussion with Cricbuzz, he said the Indian team is lacking their trademark fighting spirit in the match and letting their guard down when conditions are not favourable for them.
“When the partnership was building (Klaasen-Bavuma), you could feel that the drive in the India team was going down. It was evident on the field. Those are the things Rahul Dravid and Co. need to address and do it quickly because there is only one day in between (before the 3rd T20I). They need to regroup, have some tough conversations, and identify what it is going to take for them to fight for 40 overs,” Zaheer said in a discussion with Cricbuzz.
Defending a modest total of 148/6, India needed wickets early on and Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered after he went through Hendricks’ gate in the very first over. The decision to send Dwaine Pretorius did not reap the same reward as the first game, as he was deceived by the knuckleball of the veteran fast bowler.
In the sixth over, Bhuvneshwar picked his third wicket with the nip-backer to dismiss the dangerous Rassie van der Dussen. India kept the lid on scoring even after the fielding restrictions were lifted, reducing the Proteas to just 36/3 after the Powerplay.
“Even in the first match, you thought India were in the driver’s seat. Today again, they had the ideal start with the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was outstanding, but they have not been able to close out games. Some concerns for India going forward in the series and a lot of pressure,” he said.
(With IANS Inputs)