Visakhapatnam, June 15 (Ajit Weekly News) After emphatic wins in New Delhi and Cuttack, South Africa had to face a 48-run loss to India in the third T20I at Visakhapatnam.
Set 180 to win on a pitch which had something for the slower bowlers, South Africa had a slow start as they could manage only 38/2 in power-play.
With skipper Rishabh Pant introducing the spinners early and giving all his five bowlers an over in power-play, South Africa never looked settled in pursuit of 180. Yuzvendra Chahal (3/20), Harshal Patel (4/25) and Axar Patel (1/28) halted their chase in the middle overs, eventually bowling out the visitors for just 131 in 19.1 overs.
But skipper Temba Bavuma feels that the Proteas won’t change their batting approach after suffering just the first loss of the ongoing five-match series.
“First two overs we always have a look and then we try to get some momentum going into the innings and set it up for our big power players. That is a strategy that has worked for us and I would be a bit foolish to change our approach after just one loss,” said Bavuma after the match.
Bavuma further appreciated the Indian spin duo of Chahal and Axar for applying the brakes on South Africa’s chase and making use of the slowness in the pitch. “I think their spinners put us under pressure and we were not able to absorb and put back the pressure as we did in the first two games. The conditions suited their spinners and the pacers who took the pace off. Kudos to their spinners for exploiting the conditions to their favour.”
Bavuma admitted that introducing the spinners early in the innings was a trick he missed, which Rishabh Pant didn’t let go of. “They bowled quite well, their captain got their spinners early into the game which I think made a big difference versus us. Our spinners came later on and that is a trick we missed out there on the field. With the batting, we were not able to get any partnership going, or any momentum going. In the first two games, we batted really well but today it was an off day for the batters.”
Ahead of the start of the series, Bavuma had asserted that solidity of the top-order was something he had aimed to achieve. But with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock recovering from injury and Bavuma as well as Reeza Hendricks taking time to get going, that solidity has been missing from the top-order when middle-order doesn’t step up to the occasion, something which happened with the Proteas at Visakhapatnam.
“Look, Quinton is a big player at the top of the order but unfortunately we don’t have him at our disposal, he is injured. We have got Reeza (Hendricks) as a backup option. He is getting opportunities and we have full faith in backing Reeza. That’s squad we have built over the last one-two years. When a team loses, there are many areas that we can point out.”
“Like I said at the start of the innings, we are looking to get stability at the top. But with Quinton not available, we are not able to get that stability. I am a guy who partners up with Quinton at the top. I think the guys understand my role within the team.”
“There are a lot of powerful players and players play around me. They need someone to keep tight at the other end, which is my role. That is not going to change, I feel it has been successful for us and we will get going with it,” concluded Bavuma.
–Ajit Weekly News