The series is over for the hosts. The South Africans have convincingly hammered the mighty Indians on their home soil in the three-match T20 series by winning the Cuttack T20 and taking an unassailable lead 2-0. If the first match went down to the wire, the second T20 was a different spectacle. After being let down by the bowlers in the first match, the Indians would have gone into the second T20 with hopes of improving in the bowling and fielding department but a totally different drama unfolded itself. It was the batting unit that failed and was in tatters within the first half of the Indian innings.
Having set a meager target of 93 for the Proteas, the Indians had too less to play for and faced an embarrassing defeat by the visitors. Essentially Sports lists out the talking points of the 2nd T20 of the Freedom series.
1. Spineless Indian middle and lower batting order.
Right from the beginning of the series, cricket experts have been wondering whether the Indian team will be able to make a balanced batting line-up with batsmen who are known to play at the top for their respective IPL franchises. The answer after the first two T20 stands a firm no! Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, being the openers for India in ODIs, were to open in the T20s as well. But the rest of the line-up has always been under a lot of questions. Following the failure of Shikhar Dhawan in the first T20, there were rumors that Virat Kohli might be promoted to open the innings or Dhawan might be replaced by Ajinkya Rahane, who has been one of the most consistent batsmen for India and has been opening for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Captain MS Dhoni kept his batting line-up the same and the result was devastating. Indian top order fell cheaply and a spineless middle order summed up the Indian innings at just 92 runs. The Indian think-tank needs to find the right combination for the third T20 since there’s a big T20 season for India in future followed by the T20 World Cup. Rahane looks to be a better choice as an opener instead of Dhawan and Dhoni should probably stay down at number 6 or 7 to provide a little stability rather than trying too hard to find his long-lost blazing touch by coming in at number 5.