India vs South Africa 2nd ODI, Preview: KL Rahul-Led India Aim At Improved Batting Show With Series On Line

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KL Rahul will have to show drastically improved leadership acumen when he leads India against a buoyant South African team in the second ODI on Thursday, with the three-match series and his long-term Test captaincy ambitions on the line. Rahul was mediocre at best in terms of “thinking on his feet,” something that is basic to the art of captaincy, and he also didn’t look good with the bat in a deflating 31-run loss in the opening ODI. where India were outclassed for most of the game. The middle order, which had been a problem since Virat Kohli’s heady days as captain, still sticks out like a sore thumb and no one knows exactly what the solution is.

Once again it was a case of one starter, Shikhar Dhawan this time around, and the indomitable Kohli held strong before the middle order collapsed on a slower pitch where there was spin and the ball was grabbed, making a breakaway. -mill welder Andile Phehlukwayo looks formidable.

South Africa crushed India both strategically and in skills and therein lies serious doubt about Rahul’s wares as captain.

The more dominant question was what exactly was Venkatesh Iyer doing in the team if he wasn’t throwing at least four or five overs as the sixth player when Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur were being washed by Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma?

If Venkatesh is playing as a specialist hitter at No. 6, why not use Suryakumar Yadav, who is more experienced with better hitting range under pressure?

The next question that came up was whether Rahul talked to Chahal or Ashwin when Van der Dussen and Bavuma started playing sweeping shots, both conventional and reverse sweeping in a good batting swath.

There was no singularly inspired bowling change unlike Proteas who introduced Aiden Markram’s first pass and held onto the Indian skipper.

When India batted, the game was lost midway as Dhawan and Kohli were eliminated in quick succession after their 90+ position. Suddenly, the strip where batting seemed easy became difficult.

Shreyas Iyer’s well-documented struggles against the short ball were exposed again that day and the Mumbaikar would know that a place in the Indian XI is a prize and he cannot continue to waste opportunities like a millionaire.

But following Rahul Dravid’s template, he would have his share of opportunities.

On a slow track, where strike rotation is a must, the likes of Rishabh Pant and the two Iyers will have to play a bigger role.

Similarly, Shardul Thakur, despite his fifty who came when the match as a competition was over and there was no pressure of a goal, will have to live up to it as a bowler, which is his main skill.

Going for 70+ runs in his 10+ spell with too many fumbles didn’t help the team’s cause and even Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked bland in his return to the national eleven after the Sri Lanka tour.

The difference between the two sides was how the spinners fared: Ashwin and Chahal in their combined 20 overs gave away 106 runs for a single wicket while Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj bowled 26 overs between them for 124 runs and caught four wickets. among them. they.

“It was kind of a wicket we came home to. It wasn’t a typical South African wicket. There was spin (on offer) in the wicket, and the ball was also kept straight, so it wasn’t easy for the new batsmen to score runs. “said senior batsman Dhawan after the game.

“The team’s hitters plan was to take it deep, but unfortunately I went out on the ball and it spun a lot and I didn’t expect that, but it does happen,” he said.

Trial captaincy is a different ball game compared to white ball, but Rahul knows full well that when it comes to making decisions, the higher-ups will turn to the references they have.

And a series loss against South Africa won’t do him any good unless the head coach is dead set on trying to make him a leader.

Squads:

India: KL Rahul (captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (goalkeeper), Ishan Kishan (goalkeeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj, Jayant Yadav, Navdeep Saini.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (goalkeeper), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.

The game starts at 2 p.m. m. IST.

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