Under the captaincy of Rishabh Pant, Team India suffered consecutive loss in the five-match T20I series between India and South Africa. Playing in Cuttack, Indian bowlers failed to defend a below-par total of 149 runs against Heinrich Klaasen who took the Bhuvneshwar Kumar-led attack apart late in the day. India started off well with the ball taking three wickets in the powerplay, but a steady 64-run partnership off 41 balls between Klassen and skipper, Temba Bavuma took the game away from the hosts.
After the departure of Bavuma in the second ball of the 13th over, Klassen took over and guided South Africa to the win, making them early favorites to clinch the series. Speaking about the game, a concerned Zaheer Khan said that Rahul Dravid needs to have a strong word with the team. He argued that India is letting their guard down and not giving a tough fight till yhe final ball, something that has been the trademark of the team for many years.
During a discussion, Cricbuzz, Zaheer Khan said, “When the partnership was building (Klaasen-Bavuma), you could feel that the drive in the India team was going down. It was evident on the field. Those are the things Rahul Dravid and Co. need to address and do it quickly because there is only one day in between (before the 3rd T20I). They need to regroup, have some tough conversations, and identify what it is going to take for them to fight for 40 overs.”
He further added, “Even in the first match, for 30 overs, you thought India was in the driver’s seat. Today again, they had the ideal start with the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was outstanding, but they have not able to close out games. Some concerns for India going forward in the series and a lot of pressure.”
Earlier in the day, India was helped by late attacking innings from Dinesh Karthik on a pitch that had uneven bounce at Cuttack that found Indian batters in a little bit of trouble. Karthik scored 30 runs off 21 balls to take India over to a respectable score, which, however, was chased down by SA in 18.2 overs.
India will be locking horns with South Africa in the third T20I of the 5-match series at Visakhapatnam on 14 June.