SA v IND, 2nd T20I: MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey were outstanding, says Virat Kohli

India lost the 2nd T20I of the 3-match series against South Africa on Wednesday in Centurion, after winning the 1st match in Johannesburg. But two batting performances that were refreshing for India, were of MS Dhoni (52*) and Manish Pandey (79*). And although the Proteas overpowered the rain-disrupted match and levelled the series 1-1, Virat Kohli stated that the Indian batting duo were outstanding to take the final score to 188/4.

After South Africa had won the toss when they sent India to bat. It was hardly a surprise tactic, due to the given fact that bad weather was looming at large, with high chances of the match getting delayed and the Duckworth/Lewis method coming into play. Even India skipper Virat Kohli admitted after the toss that he would have done the same, had India won the toss.

Credit to MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, says Virat Kohli

However, it was not rain initially that plagued India’s batting performance, as India lost quick wickets, with; Rohit Sharma getting out on duck, Shikhar Dhawan (24), Suresh Raina (30), and Virat Kohli on 1 runs. Coming later to bat, Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni had all the responsibility on their shoulders. India skipper Virat Kohli acknowledged just that, when he said, “Manish and MS were outstanding to get to 190.”

Let us do a quick recap of India’s innings in the 2nd T20I, to help give you a little context to Virat Kohli’s statement. South Africa chased the target score of 189 in 18.4 overs, which was set by India in 20 overs, defeating the Men in Blue by 6 wickets. The main reasons for India’s loss in the 2nd T20I were threefold – top-order batsmen’s failure, Yuzvendra Chahal getting hit to the stands, and the bad weather.

Virat Kohli said at the post-match conference, that with India’s top-order batsmen getting out cheaply (90/4), it was being expected that the Men in Blue will reach a maximum score of 175. However, it was Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni, who kept pushing the scoreline till it went to 188/4. Acknowledging this very fact, Kohli said, as reported by News 18,

“We were looking at 175 with the loss of early wickets. Manish and Raina batted well initially. Manish and MS were outstanding to get to 190. I thought that was a winning total. But the constant drizzle made it difficult from the 12th over onwards. Credit to the SA batsmen. Klaasen and Duminy really batted well. They were very positive.”

India’s bowling woes and why South Africa won the 2nd T20I

Virat Kohli explained why Indian bowlers were beaten by the South African batsmen out of the park everytime, as Yuzvendra Chahal registered a highly expensive record-economy of 16, giving 64 runs in 4 overs, while the only 3 wickets taken were by Jaydev Unadkat (2) and Shardul Thakur (1). Indian skipper explained and said,

“With the drizzle, the wicket settled down. The ball was difficult to grip too. They took calculated risks. They targeted the short boundary and it came off for them. They deserve to win. We expect them to show some fight. They showed the passion which is needed to win games of cricket. They deserved to win tonight.”

The main dogs of the South Africa team were JP Duminy, who scored a 40-ball 64-run knock not-out, and Heinrich Klassen who scored 69 runs in 30 balls, before giving his wicket to Jaydev Unadkat. South Africa successfully chased the 189-run target and levelled the 3-match T20I series 1-1. The 3rd and final T20I will be played on 24th February in Cape Town.