The Indian side faced a 7-wicket loss in their return to international action against South Africa in the first T20I of the five-match series in Delhi. The Proteas chased a 212-point target with five balls to spare, courtesy of stinging shots from Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller. After the game, Rishabh Pant, who captained India for the first time, came under scrutiny for his decision to captain during the chase.
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Pant did not complete Yuzvendra Chahal’s full quota of overs, giving him just two until the 19th over of innings. The wicket-striker brought Chahal on for the final, but by then the game was already in South Africa’s bag, with the team needing just four more runs to win. Chahal is enjoying a phenomenal run with the ball and finished as the top wicket taker in the recently concluded 2022 Indian Premier League.
Former Indian bowler Zaheer Khan also expressed surprise at Pant’s call-up.
“I think not using Chahal’s full quota, looking back, is definitely something that Rishabh will look into. Team management will have a conversation about that. You saw Chahal having a tough day but having the ability to come back and make a breakthrough. The Indian team had to bring in the next batter. So it was a call that was in your hands,” Zaheer said of the decision on Cricbuzz.
“You can control who goes bowling. Looking back, the Indian team and Rishabh will try to analyze the game and see what they could have done differently. Maybe Axar’s last over, which scored, gave Rishabh the signal that spin isn’t the option right now and he hasn’t looked in that direction. But Chahal’s ability is bigger than that,” added the former Indian cricketer.
Zaheer further said that Chahal could have made the difference when the required rate was high for South Africa.
“The 12 balls he could have thrown at a time when Rassie and Miller had to fight with bowlers… he could have created an opportunity there. If a wicket had been taken at this stage, the game would have been different,” Zaheer said.