India vs South Africa: KL Rahul anchored India’s chase against South Africa on a tricky pitch in Thiruvananthapuram.
The first T20I between India and South Africa was a low-scoring thriller with the hosts prevailing by eight wickets in the end. Pace Arshdeep Singh (3/32) and Deepak Chahar (2/24) made the white ball talk with some incisive swing bowling that restricted South Africa to 106/8. However, the chase was not a cakewalk but Kl Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav scored half-centuries to take India over the line in 16.4 overs.
On a pitch with underlying moisture and more than waist high bounce at times, the batters struggled and Rahul explained it after the match.
“Definitely, right up there (as the toughest pitch). We have played in some difficult conditions like this but I haven’t got runs, so this was hard work. It was unbelievable for Surya to come out there and play those shots, we have seen how balls were flying, nipping around, two-paced and everything that can be hard for a batter that was the wicket today, and for Surya to come with that approach after the first ball that hit him, he just woke up and wanted to play his shots, be aggressive and take on the bowling. That helped me take my time and play one end,” KL Rahul said after the match.
“Long ice bath today. Ice baths and wickets like these is not something we enjoy, but we have to do it sometimes.”
The pitch that former India head coach Ravi Shastri on air termed “not ideal for T20 cricket” had batters of both teams finding it difficult to cope with both pace and movement.