Rassie van der Dussen

IND vs IRE Match Prediction
India National Cricket Team (Credits: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra Predicts India Will Win The 4th T20I Against South Africa

Aakash Chopra feels Team India will emerge triumphant in the fourth T20I against South Africa, which will be played in Rajkot on Friday, June 17.

The Men In Blue head into the penultimate game 2-1 down in the five-match series. However, they won the last game in Visakhapatnam and will hope to do an encore to keep the series alive. The Men In Blue recorded a 48-run win over the Proteas in Vishakapatnam on June 14 to remain alive in the five-match T20I series.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Predicts Shreyas Ier And Ruuraj Gaikwad Will Shine With The Bat In The 4th T20I

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra predicted that Rishabh Pant’s side will put it across the Proteas in Friday’s game.

He observed: “This time I am saying that India will win. Out of the three predictions till now, two have been wrong and one has been correct. Now I am saying India will win, let’s hope that happens.”

File pic of Shreyas Iyer.© AFP
File pic of Shreyas Iyer.© AFP

The cricketer-turned-commentator expects decent contributions from middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad with the bat.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “Iyer and Ruturaj will together score more than 60 runs. I actually feel Iyer alone will make 60 runs in this match but I have put both names, just to be on the safer side. Rutu has got the form now. Shreyas Iyer, the way he is playing, should make 40-50 runs at least.”

Shreyas Iyer has aggregated 90 runs in the three T20Is thus far, with a top score of 40. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who did not have a great time in the first two T20I games, showed his prowess in the third T20I by playing an enterprising 57-run knock. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had scored a mere 63 runs in the previous five T20Is, was under a bit of pressure. However, his first international half-century showed why he’s such a gun player in the shortest format.

Aakash Chopra Feels Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal And Tabraiz Shamsi Will Be Amongst The Wicket Takers In Rajkot

Aakash Chopra feels spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Tabraiz Shamsi will be among the wickets in Rajkot.

He reasoned: “I feel Chahal and Shamsi will take 2 or more wickets. The ground is very big here. Although the pitch will be absolutely flat in Rajkot and it will be a high-scoring game, the expectation is that there will be some help for the spinners because the boundaries are long.”

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

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was looking completely out of sorts since the playoff stage of the IPL 2022 and had conceded 75 runs in six overs in the first two games of this series, as the Proteas attacked him at will.

However, at Visakhapatnam he came back in style, causing the downfall of Dwayne Pretorious, Rassie van der Dussen, and Heinrich Klaasen. Tabraiz Shamsi had a magnificent run in T20Is in 2021. The chinaman spinner picked up 36 wickets in 22 matches at an economy rate of 5.72.

The 44-year-old commentator reckons quite a few maximums will be struck in the fourth T20I.

Aakash Chopra predicted: “You won’t get sixes by hitting the ball softly, it’s not Feroz Shah Kotla, but I feel more than 12 sixes will still be hit. A good pitch for batting means a high-scoring game, which means at least 12 sixes should be hit.”

A total of 52 sixes have been hit in the three T20Is thus far. Team India is slightly ahead of the Proteas on that count, with their batters having struck 27 maximums.

Zaheer Khan (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
Zaheer Khan (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
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Zaheer Khan Praised Rishabh Pant For Making Smart Moves Like Using 6 Overs Of Spin In The First 10 Overs

Zaheer Khan, the former left-arm seamer praised young Indian stand-in captain Rishabh Pant for utilizing different tactics and bowling six overs of spin in the first 10 overs against South Africa in the third T20I.

Having lost the first two T20Is, India desperately needed a victory in the third match in Vizag on Tuesday to keep their hopes of winning the series alive. Defending a total of 179, the Indian bowlers put up an impressive showing to restrict the Proteas to 131.

Rishabh Pant will lead India against South Africa (BCCI Image)
Rishabh Pant will lead India against South Africa (BCCI Image)

Zaheer Khan Praised Rishabh Pant For Making Smart Moves

To stay alive in the five-match T20I series, Rishabh Pant’s side needed its players to stand up and deliver in the 3rd T20I, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Harshal Patel accomplished exactly that. With half-centuries, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan put up 97, India’s biggest opening stand against South Africa in T20Is. Yuzvendra Chahal picked 3 scalps and Harshal Patel picked 4 wickets to give India a comfortable victory.

If Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller’s blistering fifties helped South Africa chase their highest successful score (212) in T20Is in the first T20I, then Heinrich Klaasen single-handedly bailed the Proteas out of a crunch situation in the second T20I, before India’s win in the 3rd T20I.

Praising Rishabh Pant for making some smart moves as skipper during the third T20I, Zaheer Khan said during a discussion: “Rishabh used six overs of spin in the first 10 overs. That is something different from what we have seen in the first two games.”

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

He also opined that the slow bowlers Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal made the desired adjustments according to the conditions and were rewarded accordingly.

Zaheer Khan added: “The spinners bowled a different trajectory. They were bowling a lot more flatter, especially (Yuzvendra) Chahal, who was also quicker through the air.”

While leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was Player of the Match for his figures of three for 20, left-arm spinner Axar Patel ended with economical figures of one for 28. Pacer Harshal Patel also starred with four for 25, which included the big scalp of David Miller.

Zaheer Khan Feels India Won’t Change Their Playing XI For Last 2 T20Is

Zaheer Khan credited India for delivering under pressure and proving how desperately they wanted the win.

The 43-year-old added: “What was required under pressure to deliver for the team, they have managed to pull it out. A very important game for the Indian team. They managed to survive and proved that they have a very strong case for a comeback in the series. That makes for a very exciting viewing for the remainder of the series.”

Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad | Photo Credit: AP
Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad | Photo Credit: AP

On the batting front, Indian openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan also shone with half-centuries as the hosts posted a competitive 179 for five. Despite emerging victorious in Vizag, India still need to win the remaining two games to clinch the series, but may not make a change in the playing XI, feels the former pacer.

Asked if he sees the Men in Blue making any changes for the upcoming matches, the former cricketer responded: “Unless there is a forced injury, it’s unlikely that India will change their playing XI. If at all that route had to be taken, it was for this game. But India showed their faith in their playing XI and got the desired results. You wouldn’t want to change unless the conditions are drastically different. Even in that case, I don’t see India making any changes.”

The fourth T20I of the India-South Africa series will be played in Rajkot on June 17 followed by the final game in Bengaluru on June 19.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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IND vs SA: Aakash Chopra Makes His Predictions For 3rd T20I

Aakash Chopra has made his predictions for the third T20I between Team India and South Africa to be played in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, June 14.

The Men In Blues head into the game 2-0 down in the five-match series. They will have to win Tuesday’s encounter to stay alive in the series.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Predicts Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Rassie van der Dussen And David Miller Will Be Amongst Runs In The 3rd T20I

Shreyas Iyer, who has scored 76 runs, and Hardik Pandya, who has 40 runs under his belt, are expected to score more than 65 runs together as felt by Aakash Chopra. While Hardik Pandya disappointed in the last fixture scoring only 9, Shreyas Iyer hasn’t looked to score consistently against Proteas’ formidable pace attack.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra predicted Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya to be among the runs, saying: “Iyer and Hardik will together score more than 65 runs. Hardik disappointed me a little in the last match, I was expecting more. Iyer is consistently scoring but consistently scoring against spin, not against pace.”

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

The former Indian opener expects decent contributions from middle order Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller from the South African side.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “Rassie and Miller will together score more than 55 runs, although Rassie was dismissed early in the last match. Miller comes down the order but he doesn’t get out at all, he has not been dismissed in the last four matches, whether you see the IPL or the two T20Is, he is invincible.”

Rassie van der Dussen (75*) and David Miller (64*) strung together a match-winning partnership in the first T20I in Delhi. While the former managed just a solitary run, the Gujarat Titans (GT) southpaw scored an unbeaten 20 in the second game to seal the win for the Proteas.

Aakash Chopra Feels Kagiso Rabada And Yuzvendra Chahal Will Together Take 3 Or More Scalps

Aakash Chopra expects Kagiso Rabada and Yuzvendra Chahal to snare a few wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal returned 1/49 in his four overs in the second T20 International against the Proteas at Cuttack. The wily leg-spinner has also conceded 75 runs in the 6.1 overs he has bowled in the ongoing series to date.

The leg-spinner was wicketless and conceded 26 off his 2.1 overs in the first T20I against South Africa in Delhi on June 9. Proteas pacer Kagiso Rabada has also picked up only 1 wicket despite bowling 8 overs.

He observed: “The third thing I feel is that on this Vizag ground, Rabada and Chahal will together take three or more wickets, although the truth is that Yuzi Chahal has not picked up wickets for some time now. He has been our premier bowler but he is struggling at this point in time.”

Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the 2nd T20I against South Africa in Cuttack (BCCI Photo)
Yuzvendra Chahal in action during the 2nd T20I against South Africa in Cuttack (BCCI Photo)

The reputed commentator concluded by predicting that the visiting South Africans will seal the series in Visakhapatnam. 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).

Aakash Chopra said: “Because I have been told that I said South Africa will win the first match and they won, but when I said India, India still did not win, so I should predict South Africa again, so let me do that. South Africa will win this encounter and win the series today itself.”

Team India has never won a T20I series against South Africa at home. While they suffered a 2-0 reversal in the first series between the two sides in 2015, their last series ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
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Aakash Chopra Admits Yuzvendra Chahal Has Conceded A Lot Of Runs In The India-South Africa T20I Series

Aakash Chopra has picked Yuzvendra Chahal’s inability to pick up wickets apart from being expensive as one of the concerns for Team India heading into the third T20I against South Africa. Yuzvendra Chahal has snared just one wicket in the two T20Is against the Proteas thus far. The wily leg-spinner has also conceded 75 runs in the 6.1 overs he has bowled in the ongoing series to date.

Yuzvendra Chahal returned 1/49 in his four overs in the second T20 International against the Proteas at Cuttack, fresh from a highly successful IPL 2022 spell where he won the Purple Cap for taking most wickets (27 scalps averaging 19.52 in 17 games). Notably, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant had given just 2.1 overs to Yuzvendra Chahal in the series opener. The bowler had conceded 26 runs in 13 deliveries in Delhi.

Yuzvendra Chahal has been found slightly wanting in the two T20Is thus far [P/C: BCCI]
Yuzvendra Chahal has been found slightly wanting in the two T20Is thus far [P/C: BCCI]

Aakash Chopra Admits India’s Biggest Concern Is That Yuzvendra Chahal Has Conceded A Lot Of Runs In The India – South Africa T20I Series

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra reflected on some of the pain points for Team India in the series thus far.

Aakash Chopra said the following about Yuzvendra Chahal: “The biggest concern is that India is not picking up enough wickets in the middle overs. Yuzvendra Chahal is our experienced customer, you look towards him. All of us said that it was massive injustice when he was not selected for the World Cup (T20I, 2021). But the truth is that he has conceded a lot of runs in this series.”

While observing that Bhuvneshwar Kumar has given Team India early breakthroughs, the cricketer-turned-commentator added that the spinners have been a let-down.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “The start is still good, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picks up wickets, but we have picked up just two wickets in the middle overs. It also tells you that our spin has not worked at all. Yuzi Chahal has picked up one wicket, Axar Patel has picked up one wicket, we have not really bowled well. There has been no potency in the middle overs.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Following India’s four-wicket loss on Sunday, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant admitted that the performance of both Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, wasn’t up to the mark.

Rishabh Pant’s captaincy has become subject to intense criticism in both losses. His lack of utilization of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was frowned upon in the first T20I match. Rishabh Pant didn’t complete Yuzvendra Chahal’s full quota of overs, giving him only two overs 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. 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.

In the 2nd T20I, he was criticized for relying upon Yuzvendra Chahal and the second spinner, Axar Patel, too much when the situation demanded a fast-bowling-led strategy. In the 2nd T20I, Yuzvendra Chahal was too expensive (1/49 in 4 overs) while Axar Patel gave 19 runs in only 1 over.

Aakash Chopra was also slightly critical of Team India’s fielding, explaining: “Catches win matches right. You will be surprised to hear that we are dropping one out of every four catches. So when you drop catches, you cannot win the match, that is for sure.”

Shreyas Iyer put down an easy offering from Rassie van der Dussen in the first game, which proved very costly in the end. Substitute Ravi Bishnoi dropped a tough catch of Heinrich Klaasen in the second match but the game was almost sealed in the visitors’ favor by then.

Aakash Chopra Picked Shreyas Iyer’s Struggles Against Pacers As Another Concern

Aakash Chopra picked Shreyas Iyer’s struggles against the Proteas pacers as another concern for Team India.

He explained: “Shreyas (Iyer) is struggling a little against pace, that’s another issue that is required to be addressed. It’s the elephant in the room that the guy is scoring runs, so don’t talk about him but the truth is that if you have to move forward, you cannot just hit against spin, you will have to do that against pace as well.”

The South African pacers have enjoyed an upper hand against Shreyas Iyer [P/C: BCCI]
The South African pacers have enjoyed an upper hand against Shreyas Iyer [P/C: BCCI]
Shreyas Iyer has amassed 76 runs in the two T20Is thus far. However, most of his attacking shots have come against the spinners and he has been kept on a tight leash by the South African quicks.

In the 2nd T20I, Shreyas Iyer faced 35 deliveries – most among all the Indian batters on the night – but could only muster 40 runs, striking at 114.29. He had scored 36 off 27 balls in the 1st T20I.

Heinrich Klaasen scored 81 runs from 46 balls in the 2nd T20I against India. Photo: AP
Heinrich Klaasen scored 81 runs from 46 balls in the 2nd T20I against India. Photo: AP
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Heinrich Klaasen Targeted Our Spinners Really Well: Shreyas Iyer

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.

Heinrich Klaasen during his knock of 81. Pic: Cricket South Africa
Heinrich Klaasen during his knock of 81. Pic: Cricket South Africa

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.”

Shreyas Iyer. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shreyas Iyer. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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 returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)

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).

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar Surpasses Ravichandran Ashwin To Become 3rd Highest Indian Wicket Taker In T20Is

Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked four early wickets of South African players Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius, Rassie van der Dussen and Wayne Parnell in the 2nd T20I against South Africa. The right-arm swing bowler thus overtook Ravichandran Ashwin to become the third-highest wicket-taker for India in the shortest format of the game.

After India posted a total of 148-6 in the first innings of the second T20I against South Africa, it seemed like a score just above par. To make it a competitive total, the Men in Blue needed their bowlers to be on top of their game and pick up early wickets.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar Becomes 3rd Highest Wicket Taker for India In T20Is After Yuzvendra Chahal, And Jasprit Bumrah By Surpassing Ravichandran Ashwin

It was the veteran pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar who stepped up to the task as he bowled a superb first spell to chip in with three early wickets, before coming back again in the 18th over to chip in with one more wicket in the last delivery of his fourth over.
Yuzvendra Chahal with Ravichandran Ashwin (ANI/PTI)
Yuzvendra Chahal with Ravichandran Ashwin (ANI/PTI)
In doing so, the right-arm fast bowler became the third-highest wicket-taker for India in T20I history with 63 wickets in 61 games. He thus overtook Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 61 wickets in his T20I career. Yuzvendra Chahal is still the highest wicket-taker for India in T20Is with 69 scalps. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested for the series against South Africa, stands second in the list with 67 scalps.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar Registered Figures Of 4/13- Best Bowling Figures In A Losing Cause In T20Is

Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck right in the very first over of Proteas innings. On the last ball of the opening over, he bamboozled opener Reeza Hendricks with a beautiful in-swinging delivery that landed on a good length and nipped back in. Reeza Hendricks was beaten as the ball took an inside edge onto the pad and then uprooted the off stump.
In his second over, he brought in a smart change in pace, as he bowled a knuckleball to Dwaine Pretorius. He went across the line and miscued the ball high up in the air. Avesh Khan, who was fielding at deep mid-wicket, took a comfortable catch to give Bhuvneshwar Kumar his second wicket of the game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Image: BCCI
On the third ball of the sixth over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen, who scored a match-winning knock for the Proteas in the first T20I. He bowled a back-of-a-length delivery which nipped back in and he played it on thus uprooting the off stump. He came back in the 18th over to end his spell with the wicket of Wayne Parnell, whom he got out clean bowled.

In the first innings, India registered a total of 148. Shreyas Iyer’s 40 and a late charge from Dinesh Karthik (30* off 21) in the final overs helped India recover from a tough situation. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s stupendous spell of 4/13 went in vain as the visitors rode on the brilliance of Heinrich Klaasen.Heinrich Klaasen scored 81 from 46 balls, including seven fours and five sixes at a strike rate of 176.09 as South Africa chase the target with 10 balls to spare and took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

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.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with figures of 4/13 vs South Africa. (Source: AP)
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Presence Will Be A Huge Positive For India In The 2022 T20I World Cup: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian legendary batter and ex-captain and former South African captain Graeme Smith was effusive in his praise for the India star pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

There was one and only one standout performer for India in their four-wicket defeat to South Africa on Sunday at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. The 32-year-old’s impressive show gave some hope to the Indian team before a 64-run stand between Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller helped the visitors bounce back in style and wrap up the chase in 18.2 overs. Despite the loss, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar was effusive in his praise for the India star pacer.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Graeme Smith Enjoyed Outstanding Spell From Bhuvneshwar Kumar Who Had Brilliant Control And Execution

Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered a sensational performance in Cuttack in the second T20I game of the five-match series. He got Proteas opener Reeza Hendricks out with a perfect inswinger in his very first over to give India a perfect start to defending their total. In his next over, he got the better of Dwaine Pretorius with a knuckleball and the pacer returned for his final over in the powerplay to dismiss Rassie van der Dussen for just one.

Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)
Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)

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.

“He was just outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good thinking…and skill-level as well. When Reeza Hendricks was on strike, he knew he struggles against the inswinger. He got one right and knocked him over.

“Dwaine Pretorius walked in next and he decide to take him on but is knocked out with the knuckleball. Just brilliant control and execution,” said former South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Star Sports after the match. 

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.

Sunil Gavaskar: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Presence Will Be A Huge Positive For India In The 2022 T20I World Cup Where There Will Be Carry And Bounce

Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned for his final over at the fag end of the chase to dismiss Wayne Parnell for just one. And despite his efforts reading 4 for 13, India lost by 4 wickets. But Sunil Gavaskar hailed the veteran’s performance in the game and explained why he would be a huge plus for India in the impending T20 World Cup in Australia.

“He was just brilliant. The white ball doesn’t swing that much, in the air or off the surface, but he has got that capability. And that is why it was very good captaincy from Rishabh Pant to give him that third over in which he got a wicket as well.

“Because after that the ball wouldn’t have moved that much as well and Bhuvneshwar would have been ineffective. But to have someone like him in Australia, where there will that little bit of more carry and bounce, I think that will be a huge plus,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar (Credits: AFP)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar also became the third-highest wicket-taker for India in T20I history with 63 wickets in 61 games after the 2nd T20I concluded.  Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 4/13 – the best bowling figures in a losing cause in a T20 international. The pacer’s career-best figure is 5/24 in T20Is and he averages 24.06 in the shortest format.

Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
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Rishabh Pant Should Definitely Look At Not Using Yuzvendra Chahal’s Full Quota In The 1st T20I In The Hindsight: Zaheer Khan

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.

Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya - Twitter
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya - Twitter
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Sunil Gavaskar Believes Hardik Pandya Is Going To Be The Game Changer For India In T20Is

Sunil Gavaskar believes Hardik Pandya will be a game-changer for Team India in T20Is going forward. The former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar even wants the all-rounder to bowl with the new ball on a few occasions.

Hardik Pandya was left out of the Indian team due to fitness-related issues after the T20I World Cup 2021. The Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper was recalled to the Indian side for the ongoing 5 matches T20I series against South Africa based on his all-around displays in IPL 2022, including leading the new franchise Gujarat Titans to the title.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya (Credits: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar Believes Hardik Pandya Is Going To Be The Game Changer For India

During a discussion, Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that Hardik Pandya is immensely valuable to Team India.

The cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar said: “I think he is going to be the game-changer for India, more often than not, in all the matches that are due to come, not just the World Cup but every single match that India plays, whether he bats at No. 5, whether he comes into bowl at first change or second change.”

“Sometimes I will actually want to see him with the new ball,” said Sunil Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya bowled with the new ball on a few occasions for the Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2022. However, he is unlikely to open the bowling for Team India, considering the plethora of options with the new ball at their disposal, unless they look to get one over from the sixth bowler out of the way.

Hardik Pandya stayed unbeaten on 31 runs in 12 balls in the 1st T20I. Hardik Pandya’s late charge and Ishan Kishan’s 76 off 48 balls helped India score 211/4, which is their highest ever score in a T20I against South Africa.

But the Proteas systematically went about chasing the target down. Dwaine Pretorius gave them the early impetus after which an unbeaten 131-run stand-off 64 balls between David Miller and Rassie Van der Dussen helped South Africa chase down the target with five balls to spare.

Graeme Smith Feels All-Round Package Of Hardik Pandya Gives India Options In Selection

Graeme Smith was asked if Team India needs Hardik Pandya the finisher more than Hardik Pandya the bowler.

The former South African skipper replied: “No, I disagree. You need the finisher as well but I think the all-round package of Hardik Pandya gives India options in selection.”

Graeme Smith then highlighted the balance Hardik Pandya brings to the Indian side, explaining: “It might give you the option of playing the extra spinner or a bowler less and strengthen your batting and going into the World Cup, I think having him as a full-blown all-rounder is key to the balance of India’s team.”

Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
Graeme Smith Image Source: ICC

Team India’s balance was certainly compromised when Hardik Pandya was out due to injury. They tried the likes of Venkatesh Iyer as batting all-rounders but they fell short of the Baroda all-rounder’s lofty standards.

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. The Temba Bavuma-led side took a 1-0 lead with a win in the first T20I. The teams will meet at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack for the next match on June 12 (Sunday).

Brief Scores: India 211/4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 76, Shreyas Iyer 36; Wayne Parnell 1/32, Dwaine Pretorius 1/35) lost to South Africa 212/3 in 19.1 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 75 not out, David Miller 64 not out; Axar Patel 1/40, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/43) by seven wickets

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya (Credits: AFP)
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Hardik Pandya’s Six Over Long-Off Off Anrich Nortje Was An Incredible Shot: Sunil Gavaskar

Hardik Pandya did not seem to have any difficulty settling back into the finisher’s role during India’s first T20I against South Africa.  Hardik Pandya returned to the role of a finisher with aplomb in the first T20I between India and South Africa in New Delhi.

While South Africa incredibly went on to chase down the target of 212 that India had set with seven wickets to spare, India left with a lot of positives around the batting and the versatility of the players available to play in the top six.

Hardik Pandya easily fitted back into the finisher's role. (ANI)
Hardik Pandya easily fitted back into the finisher’s role. (ANI)

Hardik Pandya’s Six Over Long-Off Off Proteas Pacer Anrich Nortje Was An Incredible Shot: Sunil Gavaskar

Hardik Pandya had played in the top four for Gujarat Titans in their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign this season. He looked like he was made for the part, finishing fourth on the Orange Cap table and there were some doubts on whether he would be able to go back to being a finisher while playing for the Indian team.

However, he did that with ease, staying unbeaten on 31 runs in 12 balls in the 1st T20I. Batting great Sunil Gavaskar was all praise for Hardik Pandya, particularly a six he hit off Anrich Nortje in the last over of the Indian innings.

“Amazing. That shot he played over long-off off Nortje, was an incredible shot. Nortje is a quick bowler and the way he picked it, through the line over long-on was amazing. That is the reason why it is so exciting. You see Ishan Kishan at the top of the order, Rishabh Pant at four, and Shreyas Iyer batter really well. At five Hardik Pandya and at six, Dinesh Karthik,” said Gavaskar on Star Sports. 

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya’s late charge and Ishan Kishan’s 76 off 48 balls helped India score 211/4, which is their highest ever score in a T20I against South Africa. Hardik Pandya scored 487 runs in IPL 2022 at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.27. He also picked eight wickets at an economy rate of 7.28.

David Miller And Rassie van der Dussen Helped South Africa Chase The 212 Run Target

But the Proteas systematically went about chasing the target down. Dwaine Pretorius gave them the early impetus after which an unbeaten 131-run stand-off 64 balls between David Miller and Rassie Van der Dussen helped South Africa chase down the target with five balls to spare.

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

Top-knocks by Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller took South Africa to a seven-wicket over India, in the first T20I at Arun Jaitely Stadium, Delhi. 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.

The Temba Bavuma-led side took a 1-0 lead with a win in the first T20I. The teams will meet at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack for the next match on June 12 (Sunday).

Brief Scores: India 211/4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 76, Shreyas Iyer 36; Wayne Parnell 1/32, Dwaine Pretorius 1/35) lost to South Africa 212/3 in 19.1 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 75 not out, David Miller 64 not out; Axar Patel 1/40, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/43) by seven wickets

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