Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was not convinced by Team India batters’ tactics of trying to meet fire with fire by taking on the South African fast bowlers on a pacy Perth surface. He reckoned that the Indian batters could have instead shown some patience and settled for a score of around 150, which would have been a match-winning total.
The Proteas beat the Men in Blue by five wickets in the much-hyped T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 clash on Sunday, October 30. With the impressive win, South Africa went top of the table in Group 2 with five points.
Team India batted first after winning the toss but were reduced to 49/5 by the ninth over. Four of the first five wickets to fall were claimed by Lungi Ngidi (4/29), who used the bounce on the surface to leave India’s batting in tatters.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Akhtar stated that the Men in Blue did not get their batting plans right. He opined:
“This (India’s batting performance) goes to show that, against quality bowling, sub-continent teams get exposed. It is not easy to play on such pitches, but India left us very disappointed. I feel the batters could have shown some patience because 150 would have been a winning total on this pitch. But that wasn’t to be.”
After Ngidi rocked the Indian batting, Suryakumar Yadav single-handedly led a fightback for the Men in Blue, smacking 68 in 40 balls. His dazzling innings featured six fours and three sixes and lifted the team to a somewhat respectable 133/9.
“South Africa strong contenders to win the World Cup” - Shoaib Akhtar
Lavishing praise on the Proteas outfit, Akhtar picked them as strong contenders to lift the World Cup this time. Apart from South Africa, the "Rawalpindi Express” also named New Zealand as a worthy team, which deserves to go all the way. The 47-year-old stated:
“South Africa are strong contenders to win the World Cup. South Africa and New Zealand look the most deserving World Cup winners. South Africa need this. They have their issues with the board and all, but Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith have done a great job.
“New Zealand has been the unluckiest team not to win the World Cup. They have come very close a number of times, reaching the semis and the finals, but have not been able to get over the line.”
While the Proteas are on top in Group 2, the Kiwis too are leading the points table in Group 1, having thumped Australia and Sri Lanka by comprehensive margins.