Shreyas Iyer, an Indian middle-order batter credited South African batter, Heinrich Klaasen, for his match-winning innings in the second T20I in Cuttack on Sunday (June 12). He praised the batter for the manner in which he targeted the Indian bowlers, especially the spinners. According to the 27-year-old, Team India’s bowlers did not bowl badly but Heinrich Klaasen was just too good on the day.
Coming into the team as the keeper-batter in place of the injured Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen grabbed his opportunity with both hands, smashing 81 off 46 balls. The 30-year-old was the easy choice for ‘Player of the Match’ in the second T20I. South Africa chased down 149 comfortably to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.
Shreyas Iyer Praised Heinrich Klaasen For Targeting Indian Spinners Really Well
Heinrich Klaasen completely dominated the Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, during his career-best aggressive knock.
Speaking at the post-match conference, Shreyas Iyer praised the South African batter for his match-winning knock and said: “Klaasen targeted our spinners really well. He played shots off good lengths. The ball wasn’t turning and he was standing and delivering.
“The strokes he hit mostly landed over the ropes. He batted really well and credit to him. I don’t think our bowlers did much wrong. They bowled in the right areas and varied their pace as well. It was just that Klaasen’s execution was very good.”
Heinrich Klaasen pressed the accelerator button in the 64-run partnership with Temba Bavuma, who scored 35 off 30 balls with four boundaries and a six. The duo saw the threat of Bhuvneshwar’s fiery spell and brought South Africa back into the game. Heinrich Klaasen took the toll on the Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, leaving no stone unturned to maximize the scoring opportunities against the pair.
Shreyas Iyer Praied Bhuvneshwar Kumar For An Outstanding Opening Spell
Before Heinrich Klaasen’s brilliance, Indian pacer spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s magic with the ball gave India hopes of defending a below-par total of 148. The seasoned pacer dismissed Reeza Hendricks (4), Dwaine Pretorius (4), and Rassie van der Dussen (1) in his first spell to leave the Proteas in trouble at 29/3.
Praising the senior Indian pacer, Shreyas Iyer said: “He gave us a really good start, exactly the start we required. He is known for his swing bowling and the wicket really helped him. He knew the areas to bowl at. He executed his plans really well. He is someone who has got a lot of experience and is a great asset to the team.”
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned in the 18th over to dismiss Wayne Parnell (1) and finish with exceptional figures of 4/13. However, by then, South Africa only needed a couple of runs to clinch victory.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 3 for 10 with the new ball left South Africa wounded at 29 for three at the end of the powerplay. This was the first time in 10 years that Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked three wickets in the powerplay. His last was against Pakistan in Bengaluru back in 2012.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 4/13 – the best bowling figures in a losing cause in a T20 international. The India and Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer broke his own record – 3/9 against Pakistan on his T20I debut back in 2012.
Having lost their first two games, Team India will need to claim victories in all three remaining T20Is to win the series. Although it’s a tough proposition, Shreyas Iyer asserted that the Men in Blue are up for the task.
Shreyas Iyer concluded: “It’s a great challenge. Lot of pressure on us. We have done it in the past and I can’t see anything which is going to stop us.”
The third T20I of the India-South Africa series will be played in Vizag on Tuesday, June 14. India trails the five-match T20I series at home 0-2 after losing the opening two matches, which were played in Delhi and Cuttack.
The visitors took the Indian bowlers to task as they had failed to defend the total in both matches. After the third T20I in Vizag on June 14th, the remaining two matches of the series will be played in Rajkot (June 17) and Bengaluru (June 19).