In their ODI series opener at Boland Park, Paarl, India was defeated by South Africa by 31 runs despite half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. During the opening partnership between Dhawan and Kohli, the contest seemed to be tilting India’s way, but then the batting order crumbled and India missed the 297-run target.
Kohli and Dhawan took the total to 138/1 in the 26th over, well ahead of South Africa’s total at the halfway point. Due to the departure of the pair, a precarious situation arose in the middle order, which was unable to clean up. Venkatesh Iyer and seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took over the run chase after Iyer and Pant left in quick succession. They did not last long, however. The visitors scored just 265 for eight on their scoreboard after Shardul Thakur hit an unbeaten 50 off 43 deliveries. There will be a second ODI match on Friday and a third and final one on Sunday in Cape Town.
In order to succeed, team management must remain persistent. Shreyas Iyer has made several appearances and exits. During one phase of Pant’s career, he had regular opportunities, but we’ve already seen the impact Pant has had in Test matches. He has to perform yet and put efforts into the upcoming ODIs, as was predicted when he first appeared on the scene,” stated Bangar in a recent interview.
It’s inevitable that they’ll improve with time, but these were great opportunities for them to prove themselves. Middle-order players rarely get to bat for 25-27 overs. With a run rate of around 6 runs per over, you have time to settle in and then demonstrate your scoring ability. I think that India should keep the same personnel, but it was a missed opportunity for them,” he concluded.