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Saturday, October 03, 2015

SAF 1st T20I - India lose depite putting up 200

The stats before the match started was surprising to me - India were leading the Proteans 6-2 in T20I matches. Wow! Really!! The long series started in Dharamsala and the pitch was more in favor of the South Africans rather than Indians - fair enough. The dew factor would have an effect but since the match started at 7PM local time, both teams would have an impact.

The Indian team batted first against a second-string South African bowling attack (Steyn and Morkel were rested due to the schedule mostly). While Rohit and Kohli smashed the bowling apart, the rest of the batting could not leverage further. The target was 200 which I thought was a tad lesser than what could have been, when Rohit was going great. India persisted with Rayudu (instead of Rahane) and though he didnt get many balls to face, I think he is not a T20I player. Time to look at options like Gurkeerat Singh Mann (who scored a double century in Ranji match) or Manish Pandey or even Sanju Samson. India needs a dasher if MSD is playing at No.4 - every team has one. Maxwell, Duminy, Morgan being examples of this genre.

India had a new left-arm new ball bowler after a long time - Sreenath Aravind. He, along with his new ball partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, went for runs against the partnership of Amla and ABD. Ashwin, with his new-found confidence and ball-skills, pulled the team back with a run-out and dismissal of ABD. But JP Duminy bailed the team and brought them home.

The Indian team will come back on pitches that are more subcontinental than this one but it is important to learn the lessons from this match. The T20 bowling needs overhaul - Bhuvi is good with his yorkers while it was the first match for Aravind. Who is the other partner for Ashwin? Axar gave away the match with three consecutive sixes - is Harbhajan a better bowler in this format? If India wants to play Mishra in tests, better not to play him in the limited overs format. Who else then, after Ravindra Jadeja (who by the way is on his way to a ten-wicket haul in the first Ranji match)?
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