Men in Blue finally find their touch as young guns fire at the right time

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India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen during the 3rd T20I match between India and South Africa, at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/ BCCI Twitter)

As the South Africans take on India in a five-match T20I series, we bring you all the action from the field – and off it

Our Bureau
Visakhapatnam

India skipper Rishabh Pant lavished praise on his team for their all-round performance which helped them defeat South Africa in the third T20I of five-match series.

All-round performance by India helped them in defeating South Africa by 48 runs in the third T20I of five-match series at Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. “The execution was spot-on from the bowlers and the batters. We were 15 runs short, but we weren’t thinking about that. Bowlers did a fantastic job for us. In India, spinners play a big role and there is pressure on them, when they come off nicely then matches like this happen,” said Pant in a post-match presentation.

“When you get a good start, it’s difficult for a new batter to come in and go big straight away. We lost too many wickets. We’ll look to improve in the next match. We have to make sure that we finish the game with a bigger margin,” he added.

India have opened their account in the five-match T20I series with this win in the do-or-die clash. With the series still 2-1 in favour of the visitors, the fourth T20I will be played on Friday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gujarat.

Batting first, a 97-run stand between Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) powered India to 179/5 in their allotted 20 overs. The first innings was a see-saw one as India dominated the first half of the innings, but South Africa pulled back momentum to their side in the other half.

In reply, the Proteas never looked like going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and in the end were bundled out for 131 with five balls still to play. For Men in Blue, Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel starred with the ball as they bagged three and four wickets respectively to derail the visitors’ chase. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel scalped one wicket apiece.

‘Wasn’t our best effort’, reckons SA skipper Bavuma

After facing a 48-run defeat against India in the third T20I of the five-match series, South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said that the performance by his team was not up to the mark and they did not put forward their best efforts.

An all-round performance by India helped them in defeating South Africa by 48 runs in the third T20I of five-match series at Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. “As a collective, it wasn’t our best effort. They were the better side. With the ball, they put us under pressure. The fielding really didn’t back us up. With the batting, we didn’t really turn up. The partnerships weren’t there, there was no momentum. There have been a lot of improvements in the fielding department, this game we weren’t up to the mark, in the first two games we were quite strong,” said Bavuma in a post-match presentation.

“Thoughts coming out to bat, we tried to assess, tried to get some momentum, unfortunately, we couldn’t do that. Losing three early wickets always puts us under pressure,” he added.

South Africa are currently playing without their star wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock as he sustained a wrist injury during the first T20I match on June 9 and was forced to miss the second and the third clash.

“Quinton is an integral member of the team. Unfortunately, we don’t have him. We back Reeza at the top. The opportunity is there, we’ll keep going with Reeza,” said the Proteas skipper.

India have opened their account in the five-match T20I series with this win in the do-or-die clash. With the series still 2-1 in favour of the visitors, the fourth T20I will be played on Friday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gujarat.

Harshal Patel ‘not worried’ about pace

Ahead of the fourth T20I against South Africa on Friday in Rajkot, pacer Harshal Patel said as he doesn’t have the pace of Umran Mailk, he has to keep upping his ‘variations’ in the matches to extend his budding international career.

“I can’t worry about pace because I can’t bowl fast as Umran Malik. I have to develop skills to render myself effective at the international level. I have never been an express fast bowler though on a good day I can go near 140 kmph,” Harshal Patel in a pre-match press conference.

“To be honest, you cannot play your cricket thinking too much about the future or past. Like everyone has said before as well, the World Cup is at the back of our minds and we are trying to work towards that goal,” he said.

“At the same time, we are 2-1 behind in the series, so the focus is on how to win the next two games. After that, we are going to Ireland, so things will move towards that direction but at this point, our focus is on how to win this series,” he added.

Being a pace operator, Patel very well knows how to stay useful under intense pressure despite his restrictions.

“People have been trying to anticipate for the past two years. To be very honest, with every bowler, the longer they play, the more the opposition will realise what their strengths are, what the patterns are, and try to adapt to it. But as a bowler, my job is to stay one step ahead of batters,” Patel said on the eve of the fourth T20I against South Africa.

Talking about how he developed his variation skills, Patel said, “My focus has always been to develop skills around my bowling and whatever limitations and advantages I have in my bowling.”

The Indian pacer said that he likes to play on slower wickets as he feels it gives a fighting opportunity to the bowling unit.

“I would certainly prefer to play on slow wickets. It gives you a fighting chance. If you can keep playing on pitches like Delhi, it can hamper your confidence a little bit,” he added.

Chahal reveals how he redeemed his bowling

Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, whose three-wicket haul helped Team India defeat South Africa in the third T20I, revealed how he redeemed his bowling from the previous two games.

“I bowled a lot of sliders and bowled quicker in the previous matches. Today, I changed my seam position. Spinning and getting the ball to dip are my strengths. Today I tried to get it to turn and bowl slower. I tried to bowl to my strengths, I focused on that,” said Chahal in a post-match presentation.

“When batters try to reverse-sweep, it becomes tough for the bowlers. But now I have a second plan and set fields accordingly. I didn’t bowl well in the previous game, the coach asked me to back my strengths. The ground there (Rajkot) is bigger,” he added.

India have opened their account in the five-match T20I series with this win in the do-or-die clash. With the series still 2-1 in favour of the visitors, the fourth T20I will be played on Friday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gujarat.

India announces squad for Ireland tour

The All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked a 17-member squad for the T20I series against Ireland.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead the side during the tour while pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be his deputy. Team India will play two T20Is in Dublin on June 26 and June 28. Batter Rahul Tripathi, who represented Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022 has earned his maiden national side call-up. Batters Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson will also make a return to the side.

India’s T20I squad: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

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