In the second ODI against South Africa, Team India could not score as many runs as it should have, which became a major reason for Team India’s defeat. At least 20 to 25 more runs should have been scored.
Team India had to bat first on the ground where the wicket was quite difficult and tricky to bat on. The middle-order could not score many runs this time, but in the end, Dinesh Karthik hit some good shots, due to which team India reached a score of 148. At one point, it looked like it would be difficult for South Africa to chase down 148 as Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 wickets in his very first spell and needed 10 runs per over to win after 10 overs. The last 10 overs were in the name of South Africa, in which Heinrich Klassen and captain Bavuma made a great partnership, and in the end, David Miller finished the match well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar didn’t get any support from bowlers at the other end and two of the most important spinners in the Indian team, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal this time again proved to be very expensive. With the kind of wicket in Cuttack ground, it was not easy to bat at all but Heinrich Klassen did it wisely. In the beginning he scored only 3-4 runs in the first 10 balls. Then, after that, when he started to understand the wicket, he started striking well against all the bowlers. Be it Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya, or Yuzvendra Chahal all of them proved expensive as he was able to make his highest score in this format.
Surprisingly, there were 10 balls left in the end, but South Africa had already won a spectacular victory before that, which shows the importance of Lassen’s innings.
Delhi’s wicket was flat and it was easy to bat there. That’s why Team India batted brilliantly there, but at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, the ball was getting stuck and it was not that easy to bat comfortably there. It is very difficult for teams to predict what kind of batting they need to do as they don’t know much about the nature of the wicket. Nor are they able to predict the target correctly, but I feel that when one gets an opportunity to play international cricket, he should be prepared to face challenges and planning needs to be done well. Rishabh Pant promoted himself to number four, where he could not get much success, so I think he should bat at number five only. Some similar changes will have to be made by Indian team coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rishabh Pant.
The writer is a former wicket-keeper batsman of Team India, and also has been a national selector.