India dominated South Africa with an iron fist in the first ODI, but the fortune turned upside down in the third ODI of the series, with the home side securing an eight-wicket win. Batting first didn’t come easy for the Indian team as the South African pacers were instantly at home in pace-friendly conditions despite KL Rahul and S Sai Sudharsan trying to negate the swing on offer.
Sudharsan, who scored a fifty on debut, backed it up with another 62, whereas skipper Rahul put up a commanding 56, but soon after the partnership was broken, Indian batting fell like a pack of cards. Rahul stated that the chase would have been a difficult ask for the Saffers had the duo managed to stay on longer and perhaps added 50 more runs to the board.
“Probably win the toss, there was a bit of help in the wicket in the 1st half. It was a hard wicket, but having said that, Sai and I were set, had we gone on and made a big 100, we could have got 50-60 extra and those are learnings we will take from here. Had we got 240, it would have been good but unfortunately, we lost wickets at regular intervals and they had help from the wicket,” Rahul said in the post-match presentation.
It was the first ODI series for Team India after the World Cup final loss and evidently, the side took a very different approach. In the absence of the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Shubman Gill, the Indian team had a lot of new faces. Rahul stated that he trusted the individual players to come up with their game plans and as skipper, he backed the ideas to come good.
“We trust in each individual's games and each individual's gameplan and what they feel is comfortable with - that's what we tell them; there's no right or wrong in cricket and you trust the players to come up with their own gameplans.
“There was a bit of help in the first 10 overs and we beat the bat a lot, one edge we did not hold on to; had we taken that we could have put pressure on them. We leave what happens on the ground and try and focus on the next one,” Rahul added.