Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter

Rishabh Pant didn’t enjoy the best of starts to his international captaincy stint, as India faced a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa in the 1st T20I in Delhi.

India faced a 7-wicket loss on its return to international action against South Africa in the first T20I of the five-match series in Delhi. The Proteas chased down a 212-run target with five balls to spare, thanks to blistering knocks from Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller. Following the game, Rishabh Pant, who led India for the first time, came under significant scrutiny for his captaincy decision during the chase.

Zaheer Khan questioned Rishabh Pant's decision to utilize Yuzvendra Chahal for just 2.1 overs.© BCCI
Zaheer Khan questioned Rishabh Pant’s decision to utilize Yuzvendra Chahal for just 2.1 overs.© BCCI

Rishabh Pant’s Decision Of Not Using Yuzvendra Chahal’s Full Quota In The 1st T20I Criticized By Zaheer Khan

Rishabh Pant didn’t complete Yuzvendra Chahal’s full quota of overs, giving him only two until the 19th over of the innings. The wicketkeeper-batter brought Yuzvendra Chahal for the final over but by then, the game was already in South Africa’s bag with the side needing merely four more runs to win.

Yuzvendra Chahal is enjoying a phenomenal run with the ball and ended as the highest wicket-taker in the recently-concluded 2022 Indian Premier League. Former India bowler Zaheer Khan also expressed his surprise at the call from Rishabh Pant.

“I felt not using Chahal’s full quota, in the hindsight, is definitely something which Rishabh Pant will look at. Team management will have a conversation around it. You’ve seen Chahal having a tough day but having the ability to come back and give a breakthrough. Indian team required to bring the next batter in. So, it was a call that was in your hands,” Zaheer said about the decision. 

Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar

“You can control who is going to bowl. In hindsight, the Indian team and Rishabh will try and analyze the game and see what they could’ve done differently. Maybe Axar’s last over, which went for runs, gave Rishabh Pant the signal that spin is not the option right now and he didn’t look at that direction. But the ability of Chahal is greater than that,” the former Indian cricketer further said.

The leg-spinner conceded 26 off his 2.1 overs in the first T20I against South Africa in Delhi on June 9. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Purple Cap winner was taken off the attack entirely after the eighth over. Fellow spinner Axar Patel completed his quota of overs and recorded figures of 1-40 in his spell.

Zaheer Khan Felt Yuzvendra Chahal Could’ve Created An Opportunity When David Miller And Van der Dussen Were Going Hard

Zaheer Khan further said that Yuzvendra Chahal could’ve made a difference when the required rate was towering for South Africa.

“The 12 balls he could’ve bowled at a stage when Rassie and Miller had to go hard at bowlers… he could’ve created an opportunity there. If a wicket was taken at that stage, the game would’ve been different,” said Zaheer.

David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen
David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen (Credits: Twitter)

The lack of wickets in the middle overs hurt India as Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller stitched together an unbeaten 131-run partnership for the fourth wicket to chase 212 successfully.

The pair were on fire in the first match of the T20I series at the Arun Jaitely Stadium, adding 131 runs for the fourth wicket to help the Proteas take a 1-0 lead. Chasing a mammoth total of 212, the Proteas were reeling at 81 for 3 when Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller joined hands. Rassie van der Dussen top-scored for his team, scoring 75 off 46 balls while David Miller slammed 64 off just 31 balls.