Visakhapatnam: Under-performing spinners, an out-of-form opener and his own bad show – skipper Rishabh Pant will have a lot on their mind as India takes on a lively South Africa in the third T20 on Tuesday in their bid to keep the five-game run alive.
India entered the series with a winning streak of 12 games, but South Africa took the wind out of India’s sails with two crushing defeats.
Pant’s side is now struggling on multiple fronts and it would take a huge effort to plug all the gaps with just one day between the second and third game.
If bowling let India down in the first game, a bad batting show cost them the second game and now they have their backs against the wall.
Strike-rate woes for Ruturaj, Iyer
India’s batting left much to be desired as the openers failed to get the team off to a good start in the power play.
Although Ishan Kishan has done well so far, Ruturaj Gaikwad (23, 1) brought the team down with questions about his technique against quality spacers and his ability to force the pace early on.
Shreyas Iyer also looked vulnerable against the fast bowlers and while he’s gotten starts, he hasn’t been able to capitalize or increase the run rate, putting pressure on the next row of middle-class batters.
Hardik Pandya, who was in sensational form for Gujarat Titans in the IPL, produced some big hits as the team were in a comfortable position in the first T20, but was unable to get going on the two-speed Cuttack track.
He also failed to impress with the ball, leaking 49 runs in the four overs he pitched in the two games.
Pant’s captain’s armband under scanner
Pant (29.5) has not fired himself so far. He has just three fifties in 45 T20Is with an average of 23.9 and a strike rate of 126.6.
As someone touted as a future leader, Pant hasn’t instilled enough confidence with his leadership skills.
His decision to promote Axar Patel over designated finisher and veteran Dinesh Karthik in the second game was mind-boggling to say the least.
When we head to the World Cup in Australia later this year, much is expected of the wicketkeeper batter, who can win games on his own and will try to put on an inspired show on Tuesday.
Uninspired show by Chahal & Axar
At bowling, the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel was a major disappointment as they went for 75 and 59 in six and five overs in the two games and the ax will likely fall on one of them going into the third game.
Chahal, who was the purple cap holder in the IPL, and Axar were put under the pump with the likes of David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klassen feasting on their pedestrian bowling.
With the duo flopping, it remains to be seen whether team management will give young leggie Ravi Bishnoi or all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, who also opens for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, a chance in the middle.
The hosts, save for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, seemed devoid of ideas of making any breakthroughs as India took just four wickets in the opening game and six in the second match, with Meerut’s leading sailor doing the most damage.
Indian bowlers tend to concede runs to a heap in one or two overs, completely undoing the work done in previous overs, and they will have to hone their game to hope for saving the series. to save.
India’s think tank could also try to unleash Umran Malik’s fast pace on South Africa or get Arshdeep Singh in place of Avesh Khan, who has yet to take a wicket in the series.
South Africa, on the other hand, looked like a well-oiled machine with both their bowlers and batters working in partnerships.
When Miller and van der Dussen took it off with a great show in the first T20, comeback man Klassen proved the difference on Sunday with his smooth 81-run innings on a tricky wicket.
Skipper Temba Bavuma also played the perfect foil for Klassen to script SA’s recovery.
In bowling, people like Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Wayne Parnell have hunted in a pack.
India: Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patelsh,, Umran Malik.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen.
The match kicks off at 7pm IST.
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