World Cup 2019, India vs South Africa: Bowlers pass with flying colours but batters need to do more
India may have ultimately won their opening match in the World Cup rather easily, with two and a half overs still remaining.
But this seemingly facile win should not hide the rather unimpressive Indian batting performance. The Indian side largely owes this win to its bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, in particular.
The Indian batting looked shaky and but for some uncharacteristically poor fielding from the South African fielders, with some crucial catches being dropped, it could have been curtains for India in this match.
No missed opportunity proved more costly than the one by David Miller. If he had held on to Rohit’s catch off Rabada’s bowling, India would have lost its top three batsmen with precious little on the board.
India’s record in One-day internationals when the top three fail is absolutely abysmal. It is true that the South African pacers were on target and bowled in the right channels, especially a fiery Rabada, and a disciplined Morris.
But the top three struggled big time and there were some loose wafts and close shaves too. One should not be too harsh on a team that has just won a match in admittedly trying conditions. But it is prudent not to gloss over the areas where one under-performed.
India’s batting has been its strength in recent years. But a closer look shows that such an impressive show is primarily due to its top three batsmen – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. At least one of them, and quite often two of them, contribute heavily to India’s score.
In this match, India came very close to losing its top three in the first fifteen overs. Though KL Rahul played an important knock today, his failure to kick on after getting a start yet again proves that he has a long way to go before he could be on par with the top three.
India must take confidence from this win, but should certainly try to fare better as a batting unit in the remaining matches. In their next match, against Australia, they should not depend on the largesse of their fielders, and instead create their own luck!
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