Axar Patel bowled just one over in the second T20I, in which he was taken for 19 runs.
India went 0-2 down in the ongoing five-match T20I series against South Africa after the hosts stumbled to a four-wicket loss in the second T20I in Cuttack on Sunday. The hosts were unable to defend 148 even after taking Proteas wickets inside the powerplay. It was just Bhuvneshwar Kumar who took four wickets with the ball, and the other bowlers had a disappointing day. Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel were unable to leave their mark on the game. The latter just bowled one over where he conceded 19 runs. Former India players Ashish Nehra and Parthiv Patel said that Pant could have brought Axar into the attack earlier than the 12th over to put pressure on Klaasen.
“It is a difficult call (changes in Indian side for third T20I). The changes will depend on how the conditions are in Visakhapatnam and what type of thinking you have, keeping all the players in mind. The way the game went in the middle period for 9-10 overs, Rishabh Pant also needs to take a look. Axar Patel was held back, there were two right-handers. It is not like that there was a guarantee if he had bowled his 2-3 overs a bit earlier but I still feel that Pant needs to have a look,” said Nehra on Cricbuzz.
“Last time, we talked about Chahal, here you could have brought Axar a bit earlier. There are some bowlers who can bowl at anytime in the game and there are some who can bowl at a certain point of time or at a certain situation. So I feel Rishabh Pant held back Pant for too long,” he added.
Talking on the same matter, Parthiv said: “Reading the game becomes very important in such situations, especially in this format. Klassen was struggling initially, and he had to change gears. Although he played spin really well today, there was a chance to bring in Axar Patel against him.”
In the second T20I, South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl fast. India posted 148/6 in 20 overs with Shreyas Iyer top-scoring with 40. Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 30 off 21 balls. For South Africa, Anrich Nortje returned with two wickets.
India were unable to defend the total even after Bhuvneshwar Kumar took four wickets. India and South Africa will next square off in the third T20I on Tuesday.