Cricket

India in SA | India looks to solve middle-order muddle to stay alive

Desperate: India would be pondering ways to stop Rassie van Der Dussen from scoring runs on Friday

Desperate: India would be pondering ways to stop Rassie van Der Dussen from scoring runs on Friday

K.L. Rahul’s men will have to improve drastically against a buoyant South African side in the second ODI on Friday in order to keep the series alive.

The middle-order, which had been a problem is still sticking out like a sore thumb and no one knows what exactly the solution is.

Once again, it was a case of one opener —Shikhar Dhawan on this occasion —and the indomitable Kohli holding fort before the middle-order caved in on a slower pitch where there was turn and the ball gripped, making a run-of-the-mill seamer Andile Phehlukwayo look formidable.

South Africa crushed India both strategically as well as on skills and therein lay serious questions about Rahul’s wares as captain.

The most dominant query was what exactly was Venkatesh Iyer doing in the team if he was not bowling at least four to five overs as the sixth bowler when Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur were being taken to the cleaners?

There wasn’t a singular inspired bowling change unlike Proteas who introduced Aiden Markram’s off-breaks first-up and bottled up the Indian skipper.

The game was lost at the halfway stage once Dhawan and Kohli were out in quick succession following their 90-plus stand. Suddenly, the strip where batting looked easy became difficult.

Shreyas Iyer’s well-documented struggles against the short ball were again exposed and would know that a place in the Indian playing XI comes at a premium.

The likes of Rishabh Pant and the two Iyers will have to play a bigger role.

The difference between the two sides was how the spinners fared —Ashwin and Chahal in their combined 20 overs gave away 106 runs for a single wicket while Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj bowled 26 overs between them for 124 runs and snared four between them.

The teams (from):

India: K.L. Rahul (Capt.), Jasprit Bumrah (Vice-capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jayant Yadav, and Navdeep Saini.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (Capt.), Keshav Maharaj (Vice-capt.), Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, and Kyle Verreynne.

Match starts at 2 p.m. IST .


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 9:11:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-in-sa-india-looks-to-solve-middle-order-muddle-to-stay-alive/article38298692.ece