Duminy Silences Critics As South Africa Level T20I Series

South Africa's Farhaan Behardien (L) and South Africa's Jean-Paul Duminy react after winning the second T20I cricket match between South Africa and India at Super Sport Park Stadium in Pretoria on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Christiaan Kotze (Photo credit should read CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images)

Duminy Silences Critics As South Africa Level T20I Series

South Africa’s captain JP Duminy produced a superb display of hard-hitting to lead his side to a six-wicket win over India. After winning the toss South Africa elected to field first and removed Rohit Sharma in just the second over. Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan rebuilt for India, but after Dhawan fell and Virat Kohli failed to contribute, India were on the ropes. However, a blistering 79 from Manish Pandey and a vintage half-century from MS Dhoni propelled India to the sizeable total of 188.

South Africa began their innings with rain coming down heavily, and it was clear that their tactic was to get off to as fast a start as possible to try and get ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score. Ultimately it was Duminy’s unbeaten 64 and Heinrich Klaasen’s 30 ball 69 that set up South Africa’s series-levelling chase. This article looks at the main talking points from the Second T20I.
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Suresh Raina Impresses At Three

The international return of Suresh Raina had lots of hype coming into the series, and he has certainly lived up to it. Surprisingly Raina has been coming in at three, ahead of skipper Virat Kohli, showing that India have placed a lot of faith in their veteran left-hander. Raina showed glimpses of his old, destructive self in the First T20I but he took it one step further yesterday in his rapid cameo.

He came in during the second over with India struggling at 0-1 and he had to steady India’s proverbial ship. Raina hit a superb 24-ball 31 and smashed five boundaries in this knock. This ultimately gave Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni the platform to build a competitive total and it showed that Raina is still capable of playing at the highest level.

With the 2019 World Cup fast approaching, this could be a timely reminder that Raina could be capable of slotting into India’s ODI middle order. His fielding has been at its usual high standard as well, taking four catches in the two matches.

Powerful Pandey And Vintage Dhoni

India have shown lots of faith in IPL star Manish Pandey, giving him an uninterrupted run in their T20 side. He has shown lots of consistency, scoring 32, 1* and 32 in the T20 series against Sri Lanka but failed to really meet his potential. That changed yesterday, when Pandey produced a career best 79* and propelled India to a sizeable target. He launched three sixes and six fours in his 48-ball blitz and Pandey proved that he does deserve a regular spot in India’s middle order.

His resilience was particularly impressive, since he had a torrid time in the first T20I – only managing 29* off 27. In that match he came in late in the innings and had a very solid platform, but failed to capitalise on it and missed out badly. His innings yesterday was very encouraging and has probably done enough to cement his place in their middle order for the time being.
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Pandey was accompanied by former captain MS Dhoni, who wound back the clocks with a vintage finishing cameo. Dhoni’s innings of 52* off 28 was very timely, as his place in India’s side has been rapidly coming under criticism. Part of the reason for this has been Rishabh Pant’s recent form, but Dhoni proved yesterday that he can still match the vigour and power of India’s younger stars.

Dhoni too had previously struggled in the First T20I: his 16 off 11 was simply not good enough in the last few overs of the innings. Nevertheless, Dhoni rectified that in another powerful display of his talent and natural ability.
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Duminy Silences Critics 

South African captain JP Duminy had come under huge criticism for both his recent performances and for his team’s lack of success. Duminy failed badly in the first T20I, managing just three off seven and he struggled to find any timing or rhythm in his batting.

This was off the back of a mediocre ODI series, at least with the bat, where he only managed 99 runs in the five ODIs. His recent domestic performances had been sub par as well, with scores of 10, 39 and 1 in his last three outings for the Cape Cobras.

Duminy silenced his critics in the Second T20I though, as he took South Africa over the line in emphatic fashion. He came in early on, when opener JJ Smuts was deceived by a Jaydev Unadkat slower ball. Duminy made his tactics clear early on: to try and get ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score and to take the attack to India.

His tactics were spot on and it proved to be a great captaincy move, one which has given South Africa a chance of winning the series. He will no doubt to look to build on his 40 ball 64 and take his form into the deciding clash on Saturday.

Klaasen Continues To Impress

Quinton de Kock’s injury was a huge setback for South Africa, but his replacement Heinrich Klaasen has already established himself as a very talented keeper batsman. A quick 16 off eight in the first T20I hinted at his destructive capabilities, but yesterday he reached his potential with a man of the match performance. Klaasen came in with South Africa precariously positioned at 38-2, but he hit his side out of trouble in fine form. The keeper blasted 69 from just 30 balls and launched seven sixes and three fours.
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He was instrumental in not allowing Chahal to settle and deliberately took the attack to the wrist spinner, knowing that he would have to bowl his full quota. It was a mature and aggressive innings for a player just making his name on the international scene.

A Day To Forget For Chahal

India’s wrist spinners have had a phenomenal tour of South Africa, taking 33 wickets betweeen them. This was more than the whole South African bowling unit took as a collective. However, with Kuldeep Yadav out injured, the pressure has fallen on Yuzvendra Chahal to restrict South Africa in the middle overs. It seems as though he has not taken it very well. His performance in the First T20I was mediocre at best, 4-0-39-1 is not up to the high standards he will be setting himself.

In light of yesterday’s outing, though, that does not seem that bad. Admittedly the conditions in the Second T20I were much harder for Chahal to bowl in: the rain was falling heavily and the ball was wet and he was bowling to two set batsmen set on taking an aggressive route. Chahal only bowled four dot balls in his spell and he conceded a mind-boggling seven maximums in his four overs.

Thus, he ended with the atrocious figures of 4-0-64-0.  That spell was almost the worst in T20 history. It was a shocking outing from Chahal and he will no doubt be keen to rectify this in the deciding game.

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