How horrid powerplay bowling cost Team India a win in 2nd T20I vs South Africa | Crickit
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How horrid powerplay bowling cost Team India a win in 2nd T20I vs South Africa

Dec 13, 2023 03:24 PM IST

Team India conceded a five-wicket loss in a rain-hit second T20I of the series, as the Proteas took a 1-0 lead with final match on December 14.

In the second T20I of the series against South Africa, India's bowling vulnerabilities came to the forefront yet again, shedding light on the persistent challenges despite a recent 4-1 series win against Australia. While the series against Australia showcased glimpses of bowling inconsistencies, the match against South Africa exacerbated these concerns. Granted, the conditions became better for batting following the spell of rain that led to a wet outfield; however, with the return of first-teamers like Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav to the fold, the team management might have certainly not expected the seasoned bowling attack to concede 78 in the powerplay.

India's Arshdeep Singh in action(AP)
India's Arshdeep Singh in action(AP)

Thanks to the rain-delay, South Africa were handed a revised target of 152 in 15 overs in Gqeberha. What followed was a batting onslaught that left the Indian bowlers reeling. Both Mohammad Siraj and Arshdeep Singh found themselves being taken to the cleaners upfront. Arshdeep, in particular, struggled to find his rhythm, and the lack of variation in his deliveries played into the hands of the South African batters.

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The left-armer's opening over, which conceded 20 runs, set the tone for a challenging outing for the Indian bowlers. Arshdeep's inability to stem the flow of runs has proved costly for India on many occasions, and it is slowly – but surely – raising questions about his role in the team and emphasizing the pressing need for improved performances from India's emerging pace talents.

Despite giving away 20 off his first, Arshdeep was entrusted with a second over right after the Powerplay finished, where he conceded 11.

Siraj, too, lacked the sharpness as he opened the proceedings for the side, getting hit for a boundary off the very first ball of the Proteas' innings. He conceded two more fours in his first over and even though he did beat the edge of Reeza Hendricks and found a outside edge off Matthew Breetzke, the inconsistency in lines and length were showing up for the star India pacer.

Mukesh Kumar had been among the more consistent pacers for India, but even as he ended the game with two wickets to his name, Mukesh conceded 34 off his three overs.

Thanks to the rampant onslaught against the pacers, Suryakumar decided to deploy spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav early. However, despite their early introduction in the third over, India found little respite against the South African batters. On song after the first two overs, South Africa firmly held the momentum despite scoring only 5 off Ravindra Jadeja's third, where they also lost Breezke via a run out.

Following the opener's departure, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram took charge, embarking on a relentless assault against Kuldeep (11 runs in 4th over) and Mukesh (11 runs in 5th over).

The bowling attack – and particularly the pacers' – inability to curtail the South African onslaught in the powerplay allowed the Proteas to establish an early dominance. The concession of substantial runs in the initial overs proved to be a decisive factor, laying the groundwork for South Africa's comfortable victory in the match.

Challenges in pace bowling

The broader context of India's bowling challenges extends beyond a single match. With key bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami rested post the ODI World Cup, the onus falls on the emerging fast bowlers to step up. The absence of a seamless transition became even more pronounced as the likes of Arshdeep Singh – who had been among India's first-choice fast bowlers in T20 World Cup last year – struggled to make a significant impact.

In a bowling landscape where veterans like Bumrah and Shami continue to play crucial roles, the emerging generation appears to be grappling with the demands of international cricket.

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