So the three-match T20I series between India and South Africa has ended with the tourists ending on a high pocking a consolation victory while the hosts winning it 2-1. Quite a lot of positives for both the teams, especially for South Africa who saw Quinton de Kock and Rilee Roussow roar back to form with sparkling performances. Suryakumar Yadav displayed his pyrotechnics, Dinesh Karthik continued to prove why he’s their designated finisher. But there are concerns too – for SA, the form of their captain Temba Bavuma and for India their death bowling.
3rd T20I: Rossouw Powers SA to 49-run Victory, India Clinch Series 2-1
The third T20I played on Tuesday brought forth these concerns once again. Here are the major talking points from the final match of the series:-
The Bavuma Question
Two SA batters who had scored a pair of ducks each in the first two matches were under immense pressure coming into this contest. One of them cracked a century, the other failed again. South Africa captain Temba Bavuma made 3 before falling and that has put up a major question in front of the side ahead of the T20 WC: Should he continue to open? Or the bigger one: Does Bavuma merit a place in T20s? This is when others around him have started scoring runs. Bavuma’s T20I record is nothing much to write about either – 562 runs from 26 innings and that too when he’s a top-order batter.
Rossouw Cracks a Ton
Rossouw dug himself out of the hole and in style, got back into form right before the world cup. Rossouw’s previous highest score in T20Is was 96 not out scored this year in July. He went four better against India to score a maiden century in the format. And he batted with authority and was lucky when on 24, his catch was dropped in the deep. Rossouw capitalised on that reprieval to add 76 more to his total. He struck seven fours and eight sixes during his unbeaten 48-ball 100.
Also Read: ‘Bumrah’s Absence a Big Loss, Opportunity For Someone Else to Stand up’
Stubbs Shows India The Mirror
It wasn’t too long ago that India were counted among the top-fielding sides in the world. But of late, it has become a major concern. They are dropping catches regularly which have cost them matches. Mohammed Siraj failed to hold onto the catch of Rossouw at deep backward square leg when he was on 24. Rossouw scored a match-winning hundred. And then he backpedalled after taking a catch of David Miller in the final over, touched the advertising cushions which resulted in a six.
South Africans, barring one instance, were on the money with their ground fielding and catching. Tristan Stubbs put on a clinic with his athleticism as he took two brilliant catches to get rid of dangermen Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav.
DK Promoted But…
India captain Rohit Sharma has talked about giving Dinesh Karthik ample time in the middle with the wicketkeeper-batter hardly getting enough deliveries to face recently. Karthik’s role is of a finisher and more often than not, he will not get much time to settle in and must start hitting boundaries from the word go considering the stage at which he will be making entry. However, the Indian team is also guilty of holding him back for the death overs despite their being chances to bat him ahead.
In Indore, Karthik was promoted to no 4 and walked out to bat quite early – in the 2nd over after Shreyas Iyer was trapped lbw. He dazzled with four fours and as many sixes but tried being cheeky – went for a reverse hit off Keshav Maharaj to be bowled on 46. This was during the 7th over of India’s chase and they had just lost Pant as their third wicket.
It was a prime opportunity for Karthik to play a long innings and get some more batting time under his belt. Alas, no!
Pant Blows Hot & Cold
Which brings us to another wicketkeeper-batter needing some time with the bat as well. Pant opened the innings alongside captain Rohit, saw him getting bowled for a duck, saw Shreyas depart early. And then Pant counterattacked.
He went ballistic when Lungi Ngidi was bowling – two fours and as many sixes in five deliveries off the pacer in an over. From 4/2 in 1.4 overs, India were lifted to 45/2 in 4.5 Overs. And then Pant was outfoxed by a slower one in the same over by Ngidi as he spooned a catch to Stubbs at cover-point. A promising innings – 27 off 14 – nipped in the bud.
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