Blaming weather gods
centurion: India skipper Virat Kohli blamed the weather god for making life difficult for his bowlers after they failed to defend a total of 188 against South Africa in the second twenty2o International here.
With rain lashing the SuperSport Park, Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal found it difficult to grip the ball and bled 64 in four overs as South Africa chased down the target comfortably to level the three-match series 1-1 here.
"Tough one for the bowlers. 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. Then the weather made it hard for the bowlers. Till the 12th over it was fine but with the drizzle, the wicket settled down. The ball was difficult to grip too," Kohli said.
Asked about the conditions, Kohli said: "You don't want play to be stopped. Once the game was continued in the first innings, we knew it was going to be continued throughout. We didn't really have problems with the conditions, it was a constant drizzle, was fine to play."
Kohli praised South African batsmen for constructing their chase well.
"Credit to the SA batsmen. Klaasen and Duminy really batted well. They were very positive. Good from the spectator point of view," he said.
"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."
Satisfied with his team's effort, South Africa captain J P Duminy termed it as an "easy" win.
"At the toss we spoke about this being a S/F. Way we started with the ball was exceptional. They gained momentum with the last five overs but our batsmen showed composure. Pretty easy win in the end," he said.
Duminy said they constructed the chase keeping DLS system in mind.
"We tried our utmost to keep with the DLS system. In the end, it worked in our favour because it gave us the freedom. It was raining a bit in our bowling innings as well. We knew we had to set the tone with a good first over," he said.
"They came at us a bit but it was key to pick wickets in the powerplay. To take down 189 was a pretty good effort. Certainly will be a good crowd for Cape Town. Hopefully we can put up a good spectacle."
Indian batsman Manish Pandey says he has endured a tough time waiting for his sporadic chances, asserting that he has what it takes to be a regular pick in the star-studded middle order if given a longer rope.
Pandey, who scored 79 not out off 48 balls in the second T20 International here which South Africa won by six wickets to level the three-match series 1-1, has been at best a irregular selection even though he has made most of his chances count with fine knocks, including a hundred in his first one-dayer on Australian soil.
"Honestly, it's a little tough (waiting for chances) and it works on your mind a lot. Especially on this tour, I have felt it a lot actually but that is what cricket is all about. You have to wait for your chances to play for a team like India where you have so many stars and legend after legend (in the team). So I am trying my bit there," he said after the match last night.
"I have got a few chances at number four and I have delivered. So the batting combination some times pushed me down to number five. I have tried my bit (at number five), but I also feel that I could probably do a little bit more with myself," he said.
But he does understand the enormity of the task at hand even though Pandey has the belief that with a more consistent run in the side, he can prove himself worthy of regular selection
"...India has a really good top-order line-up and they bat out nearly 30-35 overs in ODIs with guys like Virat (Kohli) and then MS Dhoni comes ahead of me (at times). So yeah, with some more chances, I feel I can deliver a lot more than what I am doing right now."
Pandey sat out the entire ODI series and didn't come into the side even when Kedar Jadhav was injured with Shreyas Iyer preferred in his place.
Pandey, who had scored the first IPL hundred by an Indian batsman at Centurion back in 2009, said it is tough following in the footsteps of the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh who have batted before at number five for India.
"I was waiting to play here. Even in the ODIs, I was trying to squeeze my chances in but that didn't happen. But in the T20s, it has been good and Centurion has always been good to me. I still remember the hundred I got here about 9-10 years ago, so it is good to always bat here," he said.
"As I said, it is tough playing for India at number five. The people who have batted at this spot before me, like Raina and Yuvi, well, it is also tough to fill in their shoes. Over the last couple of years, Indian batting has also been doing very well. So you have to be very patient for your chances," he added.
Pandey admitted he was a bit slow in his first outing on this tour at the Wanderers, where he scored 29 not out off 27 balls. In this second game though, Pandey did it very well as he put on 98 off 56 balls with MS Dhoni.
"From ball one, you have to go for it. That's what I tried to do in the first game but I played a little slow. It happens coming back after a long time and staying here. It was in my mind a little bit but today was a good day for me.
"I want to continue playing the way I have always played. That's how I have to keep squeezing my chances in there," he said.
India scored 62 runs off the last five over to end the innings at 188 and Pandey credited Dhoni for the fireworks.
"Mahi just woke up," he added, with a laugh.
"That was his chance. He is the best when he bats lower down the order. He takes a couple of overs, looks to dominate and that's what happened."