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Home / Sports / Cricket / Top order in tatters, Iyer and Samson’s late charge insufficient

Top order in tatters, Iyer and Samson’s late charge insufficient

For the South Africans, this series is crucial as they need to win all three games for direct qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup
Kagiso Rabada (extreme left) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Shubman Gill in the first India-South Africa ODI in Lucknow on Thursday.
Kagiso Rabada (extreme left) celebrates with teammates after dismissing Shubman Gill in the first India-South Africa ODI in Lucknow on Thursday.
PTI picture

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 07.10.22, 03:08 AM

One can certainly question the relevance of this one-day series, which has been crammed into the international calendar with less than a fortnight remaining for the T20 World Cup. For this Shikhar Dhawan-led Team India though, these three one-dayers versus South Africa certainly carry some significance.

But their start to the series wasn’t too good, as South Africa won the first ODI at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday by nine runs. For the South Africans, this series is crucial as they need to win all three games for direct qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup. 

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The bowlers began well after India won the toss and asked South Africa to bat first in a game that was reduced to 40-overs-a-side because of rain, which forced the scheduled start of play to be delayed by more than two hours. But an unbroken 139-run stand between Heinrich Klaasen (74 not out) and David Miller (75 not out) helped the visitors to 249 for 4, as they also capitalised on some inconsistent bowling later in the innings as well as poor catching.In reply, Shreyas Iyer (50) and Sanju Samson (86 not out) along with Shardul Thakur (33), who was also the pick of the Indian bowlers (with figures of 2/35), took India quite close.

But the top order’s failure had already made it a very, very tall order for Shreyas and Samson, while their task also became harder as the South African bowlers — barring the erratic Tabraiz Shamsi — remained disciplined for the most part of India’s innings.

India’s reply was going absolutely nowhere after openers Dhawan and Shubman Gill struggled to negotiate the movement extracted with the new ball by Wayne Parnell and Kagiso Rabada.

For Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan, the stay at the crease appeared painstaking as they were unable to deal with not just the Proteas quicks, but left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj as well.

Agreed, South Africa are almost at full strength while this is a second-string Indian side as the first-choice players are in Australia for the T20 World Cup. Having said that, a better effort was expected from the top four as their technique certainly comes under the scanner.

India’s scoring rate, after the departure of Gill, Dhawan, Gaikwad and Kishan, wasn’t even three runs an over. That’s when Shreyas launched the counterattack.

The pitch offered a fair amount of turn as well, something Kuldeep Yadav early on and Maharaj later made proper use of. But Shreyas ensured he capitalised on Shamsi’s errors, employing the sweep and drive, and improvising to a good effect. 

Unfortunately, the short ball, this time from Lungi Ngidi, again led to Shreyas’ undoing soon after he brought up his half-century. Samson and Shardul weren’t done though, but the equation was getting as good as out of reach for India.

Thanks to the efforts of the duo, the game went on till the deciding over and India could manage 240 for 8, reducing the Proteas’ victory margin.

Earlier, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (1/39) was impressive, especially in his first spell. But the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan and Ravi Bishnoi need to buck up.

Pretorius out

Ahead of this ODI and the World Cup in Australia, South Africa suffered a blow as their pacer all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius was ruled out with a fractured thumb. He sustained the fracture during the final T20I in Indore.



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