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IND v SA, 5th T20I: Pant happy with positives, Maharaj keen on trying combinations ahead of World Cup

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Bengaluru, June 19 (Ajit Weekly News) A cracking Sunday decider at Bengaluru to determine the winner of the five-match T20I series between India and South Africa ended after just 3.3 overs as persistent rain caused the abandonment of the fifth and final T20I. It was a pity that a series in which South Africa took the early upper hand before India made a comeback ended in shared honours, at 2-2.

For Rishabh Pant, captaining India for the first time in international cricket, there were a plethora of positives, especially in the bouncebackability of the hosts.

“It might get a little bit frustrating, but there are a lot of positives, especially the way the whole team showed character after the series was 0-2 down for us, was a huge positive,” said Pant after the match.

Pant reiterated the new mindset of India playing T20I cricket, where the batters would strike the ball hard from the word go and is hell-bent on giving his best all the time as a captain as well as a middle-order batter.

“We are trying to find different ways of winning matches; we are trying to play in a new way. Mistakes will happen, but we are going in the right way. I can only think about giving my 100% as a player and captain. It is for you guys to decide on how I am doing as a player and captain, I can only focus on giving my 100% every time I go on the field and keep improving.”

In the series, Pant wasn’t able to win the toss even once, which doesn’t bother him. But the youngster has now set his eyes on the Edgbaston Test from July 1-5 and putting in better performances with the bat.

“I think this is the first time I’ve lost this many tosses at the same time, but it’s not in my control, so I’m not thinking about it too much. From a team point of view, it’s now about winning the last Test match in England, and from a personal point of view I would like to contribute more to make my team win.”

From a South African perspective, stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj was sad about losing out on a chance to seal the series after missing out on Visakhapatnam and Rajkot. But the left-arm spinner insisted that the Proteas are a work in progress with T20 World Cup happening in Australia in October-November.

“Very disappointed that we couldn’t get a full game. It would have been an exciting end to an exciting tour, but we can’t control the weather. I think if you saw the way we played the first few games, we tried a few combinations.”

“We’re a work in progress, and we’re trying different combinations to see how we shape up ahead of the World Cup. It’s a strong Indian outfit we came up against, so we didn’t want to take anything for granted.”

–Ajit Weekly News

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