A fragile middle-order and lack of wickets in the middle overs are obvious areas of improvement needed for the Indian team, skipper KL Rahul admitted after an embarrassing ODI series defeat against South Africa in Paarl on Friday. For the second game in a row, Indian bowlers looked pedestrian especially in the middle overs. ”We are trying to get better at things we haven’t done well in the past. Partnerships, middle order becomes crucial when we are entering a big tournament, want to get better at bowling in the middle overs and these are the few things which are really obvious and right in front of us.
“We have spoken about it and it’s only up to us to get better, learn from it and find a way,” said Rahul at the post-match presentation.
Boland Park did not offer typical South African conditions with the pitch playing on the slower side.
“It does feel like one of the wickets at home and I don’t think it was pitch where they could have chased down 280 that easily. Credit to them, they are showing us the importance of partnerships and putting pressure early on against the bowlers.” Rahul could still find positives from the first two games despite heavy losses.
“The way Shikhar and Virat batted in the first game was very good, and today Rishabh batted, the way he managed the first 20 balls and then he took down the spinners.
“He is a really important member of the team and Shardul, too, showing us he can bat lower down and make a good contribution. Jasprit has been the standout bowler for us and Yuzi has been good today,” the skipper said.
“The energy has been great, it’s been tough on the body staying in the bubbles. We love challenges and we have come short in the first 2 games, we will look ahead to the third game and try and win that one. Too early to say (about team changes for the next game),” added Rahul.
After the Test series triumph, South Africa have also sealed the ODI series. Not many believed that the hosts could upstage the mighty Indians.
“Coming into this series from the Test side, no-one had much faith in us and that gave us a lot of motivation. The performances in the last month have been really good. Spinners have done a splendid job. It’s a great thing,” skipper Temba Bavuma said.
“We pride ourselves on fast bowlers, but to see the spin bowlers winning the game for us that really makes us a side to reckon against. I enjoy captaincy and I enjoyed it since domestic cricket.
“I see it to something to forget about myself and try and see how I can inspire the other guys in the team. 3-0 sounds a lot better than 2-1,” said Bavuma making it clear that his team is aiming complete a whitewash of India.
Bavuma said the team did not expect to seal the series that comfortably.
“We wanted to win the series and weren’t really expecting it to do after the 2 games. Lot of positives to take from our performances. Great to have him (Quinton de Kock) in the side and he reminded us again why he is such a valuable player for us.
“As a team, we have a lot of self-belief and confidence in our ability. We are not a team that prides itself on having superstars or relying on individual performances. We really try and put in a team effort.”
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