After suffering a five-wicket defeat to South Africa in the second T20I, India skipper Suryakumar Yadav admitted that the Proteas’ batting unit beautifully batted in the first five-six overs of the rain-hit chase, which eventually proved to be match-winning in their favour.
Rain interrupted India’s innings at 180/7 in 19.3 overs, with Suryakumar making a 36-ball 56 and Rinku Singh smashing a career-best 68 not out off 39 balls. After an hour’s rain break, South Africa’s revised target became a stiff 152 in 15 overs at St George’s Park Stadium.
Led by Reeza Hendricks’ 49, South Africa added 54 runs in first five overs and despite India making strikes, it wasn’t enough for the visitors’ to avoid a defeat. India will now aim to equalise with South Africa in the third T20I at Johannesburg on Thursday.
“I think it was a par score, but they batted beautifully in the first five-six overs. That’s the brand of cricket we were talking about. The message was loud and clear. It was a little tough ([to bowl), but I told my boys were out of our comfort zone.”
“Mood in the camp is always happy, and full of cheer, because I’ve said whatever happens on the ground, leave it on the ground. Really looking forward to the third T20I,” said Suryakumar after the match ended.
South Africa skipper Aiden Markram conceded rain did help his side and was in praise of Hendricks leading the chase from the front. “Nice start. Great crowd pulled in here. I thought the wicket was initially on the slower side. From the batting point of view, it skid on a bit. The rain helped us a little bit. The bowlers tried hard, and bowled incredibly well. They come up with their own plans.”
“Hendricks has been fantastic. He’s adopted a bit of a leadership role in the batting. Ultimately you want to pick form players for the World Cup, so from the selection point of view, there might still be a few places up for grab. That healthy competition means a lot for us.”
South Africa’s left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi became the Player of the Match for his economical spell of 1-18 in four overs, becoming a standout performer in a game dominated by the batters. “It’s about putting the balls in the right area… to be able to do it against India under pressure is particularly pleasing. SKY’s a wonderful player, and he showed it again.”
“The changes Aiden Markram had on the field were brilliant. The positive and nice thing has been that since Rob (Walter, head coach) has come in, he has allowed us to bring our families… you can see that everyone’s happy and trying to win games.”