India vs SA, 5th T20I, Bengaluru: Rain spoils decider; series drawn at 2-2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets player of the series.
Brief Scores: India 28/2 in 3.3 overs (Kishan 15, Ngidi 2-6) vs South Africa; game abandoned due to persistent rain
Player of the Series: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (6 wickets at a strike rate of 14)
Hosts India, fresh from making a comeback with two back-to-back victories in the third and fourth games of the five-match T20I series against South Africa, were put in to bat in the series decider at the iconic M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday evening.
Since 2016, India have won nine games out of 11 T20Is in the series deciders.
South Africa’s stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj won the toss and opted to field first given how comfortable teams find themselves chasing on this ground. While India fielded an unchanged eleven, South Africa made three changes - regular captain Temba Bavuma, Marco Jansen and Tabraiz Shamsi made way for Tristan Stubbs, Reeza Hendricks and Kagiso Rabada.
Bengaluru weather spoils decider as exciting series shared 2-2
After a heavy spell of rain, the game was reduced to a 19-over contest. India started positively with Ishan Kishan whacking Keshav Maharaj for two back-to-back sixes before being dismissed by Lungi Ngidi’s magical slow yorker on 15 off just seven balls. Ruturaj Gaikwad, too after his 12-ball 10, went back to the dugout being undone by another great delivery by the same bowler.
For the second time in the evening, the rain returned as players rushed back to the hut. And this break felt to be the longest one as the whole ground and the practice tracks were covered with the sheets. The positive news was the outstanding drainage and the sub-air system that the Chinnaswamy Stadium have, but for that the rain was required to stop totally.
The cut-off time for the game to start for at least a 5-over contest was 10:12 pm IST, but for that the rain had to stop 30 minutes before the magical number to offer the groundspersons enough time to prepare the field for play to resume. And the clock kept on ticking.
The bitter news at last knocked on the door; the decider of the five-match T20I series between India and South Africa had been abandoned due to persistent rain as the series was shared by both teams on a 2-2 margin. South Africa, on the other hand, kept their proud record intact of not having lost a limited overs series on Indian soil since 2011.
Ranji Trophy 2022 final which is scheduled to begin on June 22 at the same ground between Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh seems to be under serious threat with the forecast being murky.
India and South Africa carry positives for the future
Meanwhile, India will be fairly happy with their progress in the series. Even though they lost the first two games, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was excellent in the powerplay picking up wickets early.
The comeback of both Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik is one of the highlights for the hosts. Harshal Patel’s mystery with variations is also a shining point for India. Rishabh Pant’s batting could be a little concern for the team.
In case of South Africa, they were plagued with injury concerns that afflicted Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram (Covid). But they had Dwaine Pretorius at number three who performed decently, besides managing their resources well. The return of Parnell is a great sign while the return of David Miller was such a positive news before the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. Rassie van der Dussen and Henrich Klaasen raised their game too when required.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Player of the Series): I feel really proud to do well in the series. Even though, the body is feeling well, I don’t want to talk much about it. I just want to focus on being stronger physically and with my bowling. My job is generally to bowl two upfront and two at the end. As a senior, I am trying to help the youngsters too.
Keshav Maharaj (South Africa captain): It’s disappointing to not get a full game at the end of an exciting tour; however, we can’t control the weather. We tried a few combinations but the work is in progress for Australia (ICC T20 World Cup 2022). Hopefully, the future Indian series will be interesting like this one. We carried our confidence from the past but we can’t take things for granted.
Rishabh Pant (India captain): The team showed a lot of character after being down 0-2. We are in a good spot of finding alternate ways to win. I am ready to give my 100 per cent to the team both as a player and captain. I can only focus on offering 100 per cent whenever I walk on to the field. Toss factor is not in my hand. We will try to win the Test in England and I am keen to contribute more to the team with the bat.
What’s to Come
India will now fly to Ireland for a two-match T20I series which starts on June 26 at The Village, Malahide in Dublin, whereas South Africa will head to England for a full tour starting with an ODI series on July 19 at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.