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Rishabh Pant's 85 in vain as South Africa win second ODI to clinch series

The upbeat South African side taught the experienced Indian team a lesson by registering a seven-wicket victory to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series in Paarl.

Published: 21st January 2022 11:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2022 11:06 PM   |  A+A-

Indian batter Rishabh Pant plays a shot during the second ODI cricket match between South Africa and India in Paarl, South Africa, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

Indian batter Rishabh Pant plays a shot during the second ODI cricket match between South Africa and India in Paarl, South Africa, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: When the Indian team landed on the shores of South Africa last month, they were regarded as favourites in both the Tests and the ODIs.  But things did not fall in place and once they lost in the longer format, winning the 50-overs contest was looked upon as a saving grace.

However, the upbeat South African side taught the experienced Indian team a lesson by registering a seven-wicket victory to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series in Paarl on Friday.

The home team crossed India's score of 287 in the 49th over as Janneman Malan (91) and Quinton de Kock (78) played a pivotal role in the win. The openers were in top form throughout the innings and laid the platform for a huge series victory.  

The back-to-back losses in the ODI series is a wake-up call for India, who are also using these matches as preparation for the 2023 World Cup. Barring Rohit Sharma, India have their best possible ODI squad in South Africa, but they have struggled to perform as a unit.

If the middle order failed in the first ODI, the second game was not different. Barring Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer were not able to make much difference in the team's score.  Even Virat Kohli failed. There are more questions than answers for the team management with Rahul Dravid at the helm.

The failure of the Indian bowlers to trouble the South African batters also cost them. In fact, in the two ODIs so far, India only took seven wickets, which is surprising as they possess top bowlers in their ranks.

The form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is regarded as a white-ball specialist, does not augur well with the pacer wicketless in the series so far and he lacked the rhythm on Friday. South African bowlers, in contrast, have 14 wickets so far.

India, who won the toss and opted to bat first on the day, might have gone about their business quite well until the 33rd over of the game with KL Rahul and Pant looking quite good. The southpaw, who walked in at number four, played aggressively to score 71-ball 85.

Though the skipper also did well to complete a half-century, he could not really get on top of his opponents as his strike rate of 69.62 suggests. When the two were in the middle, India were in the driving seat, mainly due to Pant's innings, which included ten fours and two sixes.

In a matter of few balls, both the players were back in the dugout and Shreyas and Venkatesh's quick wickets meant they were dependent on their lower order. Shardul Thakur made his case for batting promotion with 40 runs while Ashwin added 25 to help the team reach 287/6.

What followed was even ordinary by India. With De Kock in the mood to attack, Indian bowlers did not have a riposte to his display.

The southpaw started his innings with a flurry of boundaries to put India on the backfoot and he never looked back, completing his 50 in just 36 balls. His opening partner might not have been off the blocks quickly, but he picked up the rate as the game went along, helping his side inch closer to the target.

Though the seeds of hope were sown for the visitors when Temba Bavuma and Malan were dismissed in quick succession, South Africa did not have any further hiccups with Aiden Markram (37 n.o) and Rassie van der Dussen (37 n.o) guiding the team over the line.



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