If the first T20I between India and South Africa at Thiruvananthapuram was all about India’s bowling attack dominating the match to keep the visitors to 106, then it turned exactly the opposite in the second T20I at Guwahati when the bowlers conceded 78 runs in the last five overs to concede 221 against the Proteas, who fell 16 runs short of the target.
India opener and vice-captain K.L Rahul defended the bowling attack, saying that one should keep in mind the conditions on offer while successfully defending 238 against South Africa. “Overall as a team there’s a lot that we need to get better at. Not just for us but for all teams before the World Cup. These are great opportunities for teams to experiment and to try and see what really works for them.”
“At the end, a win is a win, but there are a lot of learnings. Just because we got 237 doesn’t mean there is no room for us to improve as a batting group,” said Rahul in the post-match press conference.
After a good start, India were unable to contain David Miller and Quinton de Kock, who shared an unbroken 174-run stand. Harshal Patel conceded 45 runs, Axar Patel leaked 53 runs and Arshdeep Singh, after taking first two wickets, gave away a whopping 62 runs in his four overs. Also, the humidity levels touched as high as 94 per cent during the match.
“In the same way, there is a lot of room for the bowlers to get better. In the last game they restricted the team to 106 and today they went for runs. You have to take into consideration the conditions also, the pitch, it was humid, and there was dew, so it was hard for the bowlers to grip the ball.”
“When the opposition batters are in mindset of chasing 240, they are gonna come hard, try and smash every ball. It becomes a little difficult for the bowlers to execute their plans. That’s the challenge for us as we play more games, that is something we talk about. As individuals, they really try hard at practice to rectify them,” added the right-hander.
Despite leaking plenty of runs in Guwahati, Rahul refused to see death bowling as a long-term concern. “If it was such a big concern then I don’t think we would have won as many games as we have. It’s never that one skill that wins you games. It’s always a team effort. Having said that, there have been games where bowlers have done well but in a format like this, you will have bad days.”
“It’s a high-risk game. Things move fast. We always want to keep getting better as a team. Sunday was one of those days when our bowlers couldn’t execute 7 out of 10 balls or so but that doesn’t mean it will keep happening. This is something we need to learn and get better at.”