A potentially high scoring thriller failed to find a deserving climax at Dharamsala a couple of days ago. The Indians turned out to be at the wrong end of things, despite being virtually flawless with the bat. To make things right, MS Dhoni and his men would be eager to register a win in the India v South Africa 2nd T20 at Cuttack tomorrow. They have the goods, but the delivery needs some more perfection. The South Africans, on the other hand, have every chance to seal a series victory. The contest, in short, is worth its weight in gold.
Bowlers key to India’s chances
India leaked 200 runs in 19.4 overs in the last game and lost it! Barring Ravichandran Ashwin, all the other bowlers conceded runs at an economy of more than 10. Lack of experience was clearly on show for newbies like Axar Patel and Sreenath Aravind. Thus, despite having the vantage point midway through the Proteas chase, India managed to concede the game with some shoddy bowling in the last 6 overs.
A key issue here seems to be the faulty strategies employed by the bowlers in the death overs. Patel literally played into Duminy’s hands in the 16th over which went for 22. Despite knowing the southpaw’s strengths over the midwicket area, young Patel continued to bowl a middle-and-off line. The idea of aiming one at his pads and getting him off strike may not even have crossed his mind. Mohit Sharma’s back-of-the-hand surprise delivery seems to surprise very few batsmen nowadays. Sreenath Aravind failed to get the timely yorkers in, when called in to defend 10 in the last over.
Dhoni’s ability to cleverly rotate his bowlers shall go a long way in deciding India’s future tomorrow. Axar Patel’s quota, for example, should be done and dusted by 12th over. A couple of overs from the crafty Ashwin in the death overs can be game-changer. However, the pace bowling unit can turn out to be a liability yet again if, as Sunil Gavaskar repeatedly says, good yorkers are not seen regularly.
South Africa aim to consolidate gains
Fine batting by Duminy, de Villiers and Behardien has already given the Proteas the ideal start to this series. However, like India, they have issues to sort out in the bowling department. Their 3 lead bowlers – Chris Morris, de Lange and Imran Tahir were way too expensive in the 1st T20. JP Duminy bowled just 1 over, despite having genuine experience of bowling in Indian conditions. The idea of using more of JP must surely have crossed the South African minds ahead of tomorrow’s game.
In his current form, AB de Villiers looks as ominous as ever, and India do have a force to reckon with at the top of the order. The rest of the batting unit, too, looks well set to put on a show yet again.