India faced their second successive T20I defeat against South Africa after failing to defend a modest target of 149 at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Heinrich Klaasen, replacing the injured Quinton de Kock, slammed 46-ball 81 to take his side across the target with ten balls remaining.
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After getting restricted for 148 in the first innings, India desperately needed a few early wickets to stay in the game. Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck thrice in his opening spell to push the visitors into a spot of bother. But Temba Bavuma and Heinrich Klaasen then steadied the sinking ship with a 64-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former was dismissed by Chahal on 30.
Chahal’s breakthrough brought India back into the contest, but the leggie then ended up leaking 23 runs in his next over. Miller nailed a 91-meter-long six over the long-on boundary before Klaasen struck two more to take his side inches within the target.
While the likes of Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Harshal Patel bowled frugal spells, conceding no more than 5.70 runs per over, Chahal leaked 49 runs in his quota of four overs.
Coming on the back of a terrific IPL campaign, Chahal was seen as the primary spinner for the Indian team, but his performance has left a lot to be desired. The leggie, so far, has been unable to translate his IPL heroics on the international stage. Moreover, this is not the first time he has struggled against Klaasen, who tore him apart in the 2018 series too.
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir questioned Chahar’s approach, stating that he shouldn’t have gone into defensive mode.
“A finger spinner is your defensive bowler but a wrist spinner is your attacking option. He (Chahal) needs to have an attacking mindset. He can give 50 runs in four overs. But if he picks up three wickets, he can take the team to a situation from where it can win the match,” said Gambhir.
Gambhir also stated that Chahal needs to vary his pace in this format, as simply sticking to a particular line and length won’t fetch him wickets. “It’s very important to vary your pace. If Chahal thinks ‘I’ll bowl tight and get wickets’, it’s not going to happen.”
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