India skipper KL Rahul said it doesn’t feel great when one is on the losing side twice in a row. He added that South Africa showed them the importance of stitching partnerships and putting pressure early on.
Rishabh Pant produced a career-best rear-guard act of 85 off just 71 balls and Rahul himself scored 55 and Shardul Thakur contributed an unbeaten 40 to help India reach 287/6 in 50 overs. But South Africa chased down the total with 11 balls to spare and clinched the three-match series with the final match to be played in Cape Town on Sunday.
“They are playing some really good cricket at home and we are making mistakes as well in the middle. Good learning for us. Obviously, not great to be on the losing side two games in a row,” said Rahul in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rahul further spoke about where India is lacking right now. “Not with individuals but we’re trying to get better at things we haven’t done well in the past. I spoke about partnerships earlier. The middle-order is crucial going into a big tournament. We want to get wickets in the middle, create pressure.”
The 29-year-old credited South Africa for chasing down 288 with ease. “Yes, it does feel like one of the wickets at home. I don’t think it was a pitch they could have chased down 280 that easily but credit to them, they batted well. They showed us the importance of partnerships and the importance of putting pressure early.”
Talking about the positive points from both matches despite losing them, Rahul remarked, “The way Virat and Shikhar batted in the first game. The way Rishabh batted today. Not easy to come in with two down. He’s a really important member of the team.”
“Shardul has been hitting the ball well at the end and he’s showing us he can bat. Jasprit Bumrah is obviously phenomenal and continues to be the standout bowler of the team.”
Rahul signed off by saying that the energy shown by the team was great despite the scorching heat and bio-bubble nature of the tour. “I think the energy has been great, obviously it’s really hot. Not saying it as an excuse but we haven’t played 50 overs cricket in a long time. It’s been tough on the body, staying in the bubbles.”
“It’s challenging, but I’m not saying we don’t love challenges. Look ahead to the third game and try to win that one. Maybe a few changes, may not be, I can’t say.”