India vs South Africa, 3rd T20I Preview: Trailing 0-2, it's do or die for India in Visakhapatnam
It has now been in two games in a row that the Indian bowlers, spinners in particular, have let the team down.
Indian bowlers let the team down
India scored well in excess of 200 in the first T20 in Delhi but the bowlers could not defend that. It was a batting pitch and David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen hit their straps. Hence, not a lot of blame was placed on the Indian bowlers.
However, when they managed to reach close to 150 on a really difficult batting surface at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in the second T20I, it was actually more than enough for the Indian bowlers to defend. In fact, a score of around 130 as well would have been tricky if the Indian bowlers were up for the task.
Chahal's twin failures
The team got a great start with Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissing three batters within the powerplay and the game was there for the taking.
However, Yuzvendra Chahal failed to execute his leg spin for the second time in as many games which only lends substance to the theory behind why he was not picked in the Indian squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Chahal has been a consistent performer in the IPL but for some reason hasn't been able to translate his success in the International circuit for some time now.
It would have been a great chance to try out Kuldeep Yadav but unfortunately he was injured right before the beginning of the series. Given that Chahal currently holds the tag of the number one spinner in India, he might get one more opportunity. Axar Patel for the time being might have to make way for Ravi Bishnoi who is the other wrist spinner in the Indian squad.
You would ideally not want two similar types of bowlers in the XI. However, Bishnoi bowls the googly way more than his regular leg spinner and hence, makes for a good combination along with Chahal.
Bhuvneshwar stands out
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was head and shoulders above the rest, picking up four wickets while giving away just 13 runs from his 4 overs. Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel also did a fine job, both conceding runs at less than 6 RPO.
India's sixth bowling option, Hardik Pandya, did not quite work out as the all-rounder gave away 31 runs from his 3 overs. However, he did not bowl too badly and it was credit to Heinrich Klaasen who got a couple of shots away off Pandya.
The spinners were not really in the game at any point. Even if they wouldn't have taken wickets but bowled economically, India had a great chance of winning the second T20I.
Klaasen hit, spinners flop
Unfortunately for India, both spinners missed their line and lengths and were taken to the cleaners by Heinrich Klaasen in his brilliant knock of 81 off just 46 deliveries played at a strike rate of 176 with the help of 7 fours and 5 sixes.
Given that he came into the side as an injury replacement for Quinton de Kock who had hurt his wrist, one cannot emphasize enough on the class of the knock.
All said and done, Chahal was completely out of sorts and leaked 49 runs from his four overs. If this match does not turn out to be a good one for Chahal, his place in the Indian side would come under threat as the Indian spinners were not able to deliver in spite of no dew, none whatsoever, in Cuttack.
Predicted Playing XIs
India - Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan
South Africa - Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj/Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
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