On a typically pacy and bouncy Perth pitch, South Africa’s bowlers, led by Lungi Ngidi’s 4/29, called the shots early on. They used speed and short balls to excellent effect to reduce India to 49/5 in 8.3 overs.
Suryakumar Yadav stood up to make a counter-attacking 68 off 40 balls and shared a stand of 52 for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Karthik, who contributed with only six runs in the partnership, as India made a decent 133/9 in 20 overs, which South Africa chased down with two balls to spare.
“We expected the pitch to have something in it, with the weather around. We knew there will be help for the seamers. Which is why you saw that 130 was not an easy chase. We fell a little short with the bat. I thought we fought well till the end but South Africa played well in the end,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.
In reply, though India reduced South Africa to 24/3 in 5.4 overs by using fuller length and some swing, David Miller and Aiden Markram hit half-centuries and rescued South Africa with an excellent shift of gears by stitching a 76-run stand off 60 balls for the fourth wicket to complete the chase.
“The pitch is such that the wicket can come any time for the seamers. When you see that score (40/3 in 10), you’ll always think you’re in the game. It was a match-winning partnership from Miller and Markram,” added Rohit.
India also suffered some lapses on the field, giving Markram a huge slice of luck at 35 when a juggling Virat Kohli dropped a simple catch at deep mid-wicket and got another reprieve on the same score when Rohit missed an underarm direct hit at striker’s end.
“But we were not good enough on the field. We gave so many chances and we weren’t clinical. We were just not good enough. The last two games, we were pretty good in the field.”
“We have played in such conditions so conditions are not an excuse. We want to be consistent in that department. We could not hold on to our chances, we missed a few run-outs including myself. We need to keep our heads high and take a learning from this game,” insisted Rohit.
Rohit signed off by saying he wanted to finish Ravichandran Ashwin’s overs before the last two overs arrived due to spinners being taken apart in the final over of the innings.
“I have seen what happened at the last with the spinners, so I wanted to go the other way. So I wanted to finish with Ashwin before the last over. I wanted to see that the seamers bowl the right overs. Given the new batter came in, it was the perfect time for Ashwin to bowl.”
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