India have already started their T-20I campaign against South Africa at Thiruvananthapuram, the last Wednesday. However, it was a low scoring one. Indian bowlers successfully restricted South Africa to 106 runs. However, India surpassed the runs (110) in 16.4 overs. Thanks to KL Rahul’s grit and Suryakumar Yadav’s aggression to lead the series by 1-0.
Thiruvananthapuram saw the rule of the Chahar-Singh duo in the power play overs. Deepak Chahar (2/24) initiated South Africa’s wicket fall, while Arshdeep continued the flow, as they sent half the squad back to the pavilion within the power play. When it was almost India vs Aiden Markram, Harshal Patel came and sorted things out for India.
But Keshav Maharaj was still left. Initially, when it looked South Africa won’t cross a hundred, it was just Maharaj who stood alone. He played a fighting knock of 41 of 35 balls. He hit 5 boundaries and 2 over boundaries. However, Harshal Patel’s managed to find a space to hit his bells off and send him towards the pavilion.
Ice baths and wickets like these are not something we enjoy: KL Rahul
Coming to bat, the job didn’t look easy at all. Early wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli might have shaken the Indian camp a bit. But Suryakumar Yadav cane and relaxed Rahul’s bat. After digesting a blow from Anriche Nortje, Surya went on smashing the later in right next two balls. The show continued till the end, as they touched the half-century mark in just 33 balls.
Rahul too got his half-century (51 of 56), however, acknowledged the struggle on the pitch. The pitch has had underlying moisture and offered almost waist-high bounce at times. This however made the batters struggle a lot.
KL Rahul, after the match explained,
“Definitely, right up there (as the toughest pitch). We have played in some difficult conditions like this but I haven’t got runs, so this was hard work. It was unbelievable for Surya to come out there and play those shots, we have seen how balls were flying, nipping around, two-paced and everything that can be hard for a batter that was the wicket today, and for Surya to come with that approach after the first ball that hit him, he just woke up and wanted to play his shots, be aggressive and take on the bowling. That helped me take my time and play one end.”
KL Rahul further added,
“Long ice bath today. Ice baths and wickets like these is not something we enjoy, but we have to do it sometimes.”
The former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri too termed it as”not ideal for T20 cricket” on air.
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