Toss played a factor, we’re 50-60 runs short on a lively wicket: KL Rahul

PTI, Dec 20, 2023, 10:56 AM IST

Image credit: X / @BCCI

Gqeberha (South Africa): India captain KL Rahul said losing the toss made a big difference as there was assistance for bowlers early on in the second ODI against South Africa here, and the visitors eventually were 50-60 runs short of what would have been a winning total.

Opener Tony de Zorzi slammed his maiden international ton to help South Africa register a comprehensive eight-wicket win over India in the second match to level the three-match series 1-1 on Tuesday.

Put into bat, India failed to string together substantial partnerships and were shot out for 211, a target which the Proteas surpassed with 7.3 overs to spare.

“Probably win the toss (on what he would like to change). There was a bit of help at the start (for bowlers). It was tough to bat on but a couple of us got set. Had we gone on, we could have gotten 50-60 runs extra and that would have made a difference,” Rahul said after the match.

“When we batted, we thought even 240-250 would have been good. With a set batter, we might have gotten those runs. We lost wickets at crucial times.” Rahul, who scored 56 off 64 balls, said role clarity and execution is key to success for any cricketer.

“Each individual’s game-plan and what they feel comfortable doing, as a team, you have to trust that. I have complete clarity and try to execute it. There is no right or wrong in cricket and you try to do the job for your team.” Rahul, however, rued the dropped catch of Reeza Hendricks by Ruturaj Gaikwad off Mukesh Kumar’s bowling in the fifth over as the batter went on to score 52 off 81 balls to add 130 runs for the opening wicket with De Zorzi.

“There was a bit of help in the first 10 overs. We beat the bat a lot. We could not hold on to one edge. Things might have been different had we held onto that. Not as much help as the first innings though (for bowlers),” he said.

India and South Africa will square off in the series-deciding third and final ODI in Paarl on Thursday.

South Africa skipper Aiden Markram said the century-run opening stand set up the chase for the hosts.

“A lot better than a couple of days ago. Much better overall performance with the ball and in the field. It was going around when the openers went out to bat. They put up a 100-run partnership and set up the game – that was great,” he said.

Markram too felt the wicket had something for the bowlers.

“The breeze played a bit of a factor. It was a fresh wicket so we expected it to go around. It was fairly simple otherwise – bowl in the right areas and get the most out of the wicket. Not too sure (about the par score). I always felt we were in the game with the ball.

“It was a tough wicket to bat on but if you applied yourself, you could get big runs. Maybe high 200s (was a par score),” he said.

The Protea skipper was effusive in his praise for De Zorzi.

“It was huge for him. To put in a performance like that, to remain not out at the end and to remember how the crowd was to him, we were pretty much in awe. It was fantastic to watch. Hopefully the first of many for him, and the dressing room enjoyed it.” Markram said the big win would boost the confidence of his side going into the decider.

“That was not an acceptable performance (in the first ODI). We let ourselves down in the first game. Strong emphasis to chase well, and a much more confident unit, I would assume, after this win.”

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