India’s struggles continued on this tour of South Africa as the hosts dominated the second ODI as well and wrapped up the series 2-0. India won the toss and opted to bat first at the Boland Park, but their fortunes did not change. On the back of half-centuries from skipper KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant and a couple of cameos from Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin, India got to 287/6.
In reply, the South African openers Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan set up the run-chase beautifully. De Kock smashed a breezy 78 while Malan anchored the innings with 91. The middle-order batters (3, 4 and 5) got 30s to finish the run-chase with 11 deliveries to spare.
Here are the talking points of the match:
Rishabh Pant’s blazing 85 gives India the platform
Shreyas Iyer has been tipped as India’s No. 4 but over the last couple of games, it’s been Rishabh Pant who has walked out at that spot. One reason could be the left-right combination and also Pant’s ability to put pressure back on the opposition.
After a good opening stand of 63, India lost Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli in successive overs. At 64/2, they were in a bit of trouble and with Shardul Thakur slated to bat at No. 7, the batting did look thin. However, Pant walked in and counter-attacked beautifully. The left-hander took his time initially as he was 4 off 12 balls before he got his first six. Once he got that, there was no looking back.
There were a few that took the top-edge but more often than not, Pant looked in control. He kept finding the boundaries consistently and put the pressure back on the South African bowlers. Be it the spinners or the pacers, Pant took heavy toll on anything loose on offer. He outscored KL Rahul in that third wicket stand of 115 and brought up his half-century in 43 balls. The Delhi dasher continued batting in the same vein and tried upping the ante as well. However, he fell 15 runs short of a deserving hundred.
KL Rahul’s chancy knock steadies the ship
Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul gave India a solid start at the top of the order. The former once again looked fluent and struck boundaries at regular intervals. He got to 29 before slogging one straight to deep mid-wicket. Virat Kohli came and got out for a duck as Keshav Maharaj picked up the big fish.
Rishabh Pant’s blazing innings helped India counter-attack and skipper KL Rahul held one end up. The duo shared an excellent stand of 115 runs for the third wicket. Rahul gave a few chances but South Africa couldn’t pouch them. He was dropped a couple of times and a straightforward runout chance was also missed and Rahul made it count. He anchored the innings from one end and scored his first ODI half-century as captain.
He complemented Pant well as he rotated strike nicely and just when he had to shift gears, Rahul got out for 55. However, there is criticism of his slow batting as leader.
Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin finish with a flourish
After the 115-run stand between Rahul and Pant, India lost their way. The aforementioned duo fell in consecutive overs while Shreyas Iyer didn’t last long either. At 207/5, the visitors were in trouble. Shardul Thakur came in and batted well once again. He rotated the strike well and added 32 runs with Venkatesh Iyer for the sixth wicket.
But Iyer was stumped in the 44th over and India’s score at that stage read 239/6. Thakur was batting on 19 off 24 balls. But since then, he upped the scoring rate and Ravichandran Ashwin joined the party as well. The pair ran well and found the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. They shared an unbeaten 48-run stand for the seventh wicket. Thakur finished on 40 not out while Ashwin was unbeaten on 25 as India reached 287/6.
Quinton de Kock makes India pay for missed stumping as his 78 sets up the game for South Africa
After an indifferent start in the first ODI, Quinton de Kock came out on the attack in this second game. The left-handed wicket-keeper batter made his intentions clear right from the get-go. He smashed Jasprit Bumrah for a boundary in the very first over before taking Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the cleaners (two fours and a six) in the second over of the innings.
De Kock didn’t let Ashwin settle either and got boundaries regularly. The off-spinner did create a chance as de Kock came down the track and missed a off-spinner but Pant fluffed a regulation stumping chance. He made India pay heavily as he continued to attack the bowlers and completely dominate the first half of the innings.
The 29-year-old reached his half-century on his 36th delivery. He may have slowed down just a touch after the powerplay milked the spinners nicely and got the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. De Kock was eventually dismissed by Thakur on 78 off 66 balls.
Janneman Malan’s 91 lays the platform before middle-order wipes out the chase
While Quinton de Kock was off to a flier, Janneman Malan played second fiddle to perfection. He faced just seven balls in the first five overs and was 24 off 36 balls at one stage. But he moved through the gears nicely and kept up with the asking rate. He got to 50 on his 66th delivery and kept going from his end. He rotated strike really well and found the boundaries regularly too. Just when he was looking set for a ton, Malan was knocked over by Bumrah for 91.
South Africa were 212/2 at that stage and skipper Temba Bavuma had helped himself to a run-a-ball 35. The latter was dismissed in the very next over and India may have fancied their chances of staging a comeback with 74 runs still needed. However, last game’s centurion Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram gave themselves time early on before cashing in to wrap up the run-chase in the penultimate over. Both batters got 37 not out as South Africa sealed the series with a game to go.