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India suffer 31-run loss after no answer to Bavuma and vd Dussen’s contrasting centuries

New Delhi: India’s bid to win a second successive ODI series in South Africa took a hit Wednesday at Paarl’s Boland Park as the Proteas recorded a convincing 31-run victory that was tempered slightly by consolation boundary-hitting at the death by bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur. 

The Proteas win came on the back of a mammoth 204-run partnership between captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen. Both middle-order batsmen scored centuries, taking advantage of an Indian bowling attack that had an impressive start but got jaded as the innings continued.

While India also looked in control in their chase of 297, pacer Lungi Ngidi’s dismissal of Shreyas Iyer triggered a middle order collapse, with the team losing four wickets for just 18 runs, ensuring that K.L. Rahul’s first-ever ODI as captain ended in defeat.

Also read: KL Rahul blames lack of wickets in middle-overs, middle-order collapse for loss

SA fight on a tough pitch, Iyer denied opportunity to bowl

On a pitch that appeared to be slow and skidding, with inconsistent bounce and greater turn than what is usually expected at Paarl, both teams selected multiple spinners.

Bavuma opted to bat first after winning the toss, but the Proteas found scoring runs to be a challenge during the powerplay as India looked to make the most of the conditions. 

Jasprit Bumrah’s new ball swing and seam movement removed Janneman Malan. Quinton de Kock was castled by R. Ashwin with an arm ball that skidded. And Aiden Markram gave in to scoreboard pressure by attempting an unnecessarily single, leaving South Africa reeling at 68-3 in the 18th over.

But Bavuma and vd Dussen slowly consolidated the innings, with the captain playing an anchor role to prevent a collapse while the latter was more proactive in punishing loose deliveries. 

On paper, it may appear that Bavuma scored too slowly with a strike rate under 77, but his century proved to be the crucial foil to vd Dussen, who started out at a-run-a-ball, scoring boundaries regularly before putting the death bowlers to the sword. 

The pitch aided spin and length bowling but was taken out of the equation with too many full tosses. Indeed, India’s bowlers had little answer to Bavuma and vd Dussen’s counter-attack.

Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in particular had days to forget, finishing with the worst economy rates on the day. Sixteen matches into his nascent ODI career, Thakur now has one of the worst economy rates in the format’s history at 6.81.

While the ongoing bilateral series does not impact the Men’s ODI Super League, which determines automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup, it impacts the Men’s ODI World Rankings — and also gives both teams the opportunity to showcase their talent depth. 

However, captain K.L. Rahul chose not to give debutant all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer a single over, despite the ease with which Bavuma and vd Dussen had begun to rebuild the Proteas innings.

Given India’s long search for a seam bowling all-rounder who can bat aggressively at the death and Hardik Pandya’s injury history, not utilising Iyer in the middle overs appeared to be a missed opportunity to find a plan B for Pandya. 

India score at the top but fail eventually

In contrast to the South African top order, India looked in greater control for more than half their chase despite Rahul falling to Markram’s part-time off-spin. Shikhar Dhawan dominated Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj while Virat Kohli continued to recover from a lean run of scores since the start of the pandemic.

But it took individual errors rather than sustained pressure for Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi to make the crucial breakthroughs. Then Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant didn’t show the required discipline to build on the platform that had been set, with the former falling to his well-known short ball weakness and the latter failing to balance himself while attempting to play a leg-side glance.

Quinton de Kock’s adept glove-work and vd Dussen’s crowded wagon wheel in contrast to India’s lackadaisical fielding and ill-judged shot selection summed up the match in the end. KL Rahul and co. will hope for a more clinical performance in Friday’s second ODI, which also takes place in Paarl.

Brief scores: South Africa 296/4 (Rassie van der Dussen 129*, Temba Bavuma 110, Jasprit Bumrah 2-48, R Ashwin 1-53); India 265/8 (Shikhar Dhawan 79, Virat Kohli 51, Andile Phehlukwayo 2-26, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-52)

Also read: U19 WC: COVID-hit India stroll into QFs after beating Ireland; Australia win too

Source: The Print

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