The five-match T20I series between India and South Africa ended in a 2-2 draw after the decider in Bengaluru was called off due to rain on Sunday evening.
The Indian team was led by wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant after KL Rahul was ruled out due to injury. Pant didn’t really have a great start to his captaincy career as he lost two matches on the trot to concede a 0-2 lead to the Proteas.
But the hosts fought back well in the third and fourth games to make a comeback as they clinched convincing wins in both these encounters.
While the series couldn’t have a winner, there were a lot of individual performances that made headlines.
Ishan Kishan’s form
Opener Ishan Kishan had a brilliant time with the bat in the series against South Africa after he hit a couple of fifties and a 30-plus score in the series.
The left-handed batter’s responsibility was to provide the side with a brisk start and he did exactly the same, especially in the third match where he put up a stand of 97 runs with Ruturaj Gaikwad for the first wicket.
Gaikwad too scored a fifty in that match as India clinched their first win of the series to stay alive.
Pandya, DK’s magic in middle-order
The IPL 2022 has turned fortunes for Dinesh Karthik after he emerged as the new “finisher” for RCB. The right-handed batter’s specialty in the recently-concluded edition of the cash-rich league was to chip in valuable runs in the death overs.
The Indian team management expected the similar kind of role from him while he donned the blue jersey and this happened in an important fixture where the hosts needed someone to stick around with Hardik Pandya, who had already shown his intentions earlier in the series after scoring some quick-fire runs.
During the penultimate game, the home side was in a spot of bother and were struggling at 81/4 in the 13th over. While they needed a partnership to get back on track, the Indian team couldn’t afford to use up too many balls either.
Then came the Pandya and Karthik show. The two batters got their eye in and then hammered the South African bowlers all around to put up a partnership of 65 runs for the fifth wicket.
Pandya was eventually out for 46 off 31 but DK went on to scored 55 off 27 deliveries which included nine fours and two maximums, his maiden T20I fifty.
India eventually posted 169/6 in 20 overs in Rajkot and later the bowlers did their job and bundled out the Proteas for 87 to win the match by 82 runs.
Youngsters shine when it was most needed
India were already on backfoot after the conclusion of first two T20Is and needed to win the next two clashes to stay alive in the series.
Batting first in the third T20I, India scored 179/5 in 20 overs, a total that looked defendable. But it was Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal who rattled the South African batting and didn’t let them get into the groove.
Harshal returned with a four-wicket haul while Chahal had three wickets to his name as the visitors were bundled out for 131.
In the next game, scored 169/6 in 20 overs, courtesy a batting masterclass from Karthik. This time it was Avesh Khan who took the onus and ripped apart the South Arican batting.
The right-handed pacer bagged a four-fer for 18 runs in 4 overs.
Shreyas Iyer’s form a concern
India batter Shreyas Iyer’s form has become a cause of concern at the moment. The right-hander did score a 40 and a 36 but didn’t really have an impressive time in the series overall.
Moreover, Iyer has faced some issues against pace. In fact, out of his four outings in the series, he fell to fast bowling thrice. If he has to take the flight to Australia later this year, then Iyer really needs to negate this glitch.
The tracks in Australia would favour the pacers and if the issue persists then it would be pretty tough for him to find a place for himself.
Vintage Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Barring the first game, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was on song in this series. The right-arm bowler scalped 6 wickets in four matches and was adjudged Player of the Series for his performance.
The right-handed bowler troubled the South African batters with his line and length thoroughly and bowled some brilliant economical spells that eventually created pressure on them.
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