The T20 series against South Africa (SA) was supposed to be an audition for some new players. Both the sides fielded some fresh legs. In the end, the result was tied with one match having rained out. It was a fitting result as both teams seemed to have their moments during the matches. We review the series here.
The Champion Chasers
India banks on its batsmen, a blend of anchors and power-hitters to chase down any total. And when the bowlers deliver too, it is game, set and match for India. That’s what happened at the IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali in the second T20. India’s bowlers strangulated the SA batsmen. Barring Quinton de Kock and for a brief while, Temba Bavuma, it was a struggle for others. In the end, the Proteas put up 149 for India to chase which was never going to be enough. On the back of a half-century by Virat Kohli and a gritty 40 by Shikhar Dhawan, India romped home.
On winning the toss, Kohli decided to bat first. It was a surprise as Indians prefer chasing. It was more surprising when one considers that the match was being played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Short boundaries and a flat track make defending totals difficult. It was a brave move and perhaps one intended at assessing India’s ability to set challenging scores. That’s where the chinks in the armour appeared. India’s batting collapsed with more than one batsman trying to score big off every ball. Tight bowling in the middle overs saw the Indian batting line-up choking. They managed just 134 in their 20 overs. Tables had turned and how. Losing only one wicket, SA chased down the total with 19 deliveries left. India never looked like troubling the Springboks.
While two matches are too less to strike the panic button, it must surely ring some bells. India’s bowling machinery wasn’t well oiled with the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The batting seems top-heavy, with no batsman shoring up the middle order. India has to go back to the drawing board to firm up their strategy before the ICC T20 CWC next year.