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India in dire need of victory

Paarl, January 20

KL Rahul will have to improve his captaincy when he leads India against a buoyant South African side in the second ODI tomorrow, with the three-match series and his long-term Test captaincy ambitions both at stake.

Rahul seemed to have run out of ideas when South Africa captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen took the game away from India with a crucial partnership in the first ODI.

The middle-order, which had been a problem since Virat Kohli’s days as captain, is still sticking out like a sore thumb.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli gave India a good start before the middle-order caved in on a slower pitch where there was turn and the ball gripped.

“It was a sort of wicket that we get back home,” Dhawan had said after the match. “It was not a typical South African wicket. There was turn (on offer) in the wicket, and the ball was also keeping straight, so it wasn’t easy for the new batsmen to score runs. The plan of the set batsmen was to take it deep, but unfortunately I got out on the ball which turned a lot and I didn’t expect that, but yes that happens,” he added.

South Africa outplayed India both strategically as well as on skills. The difference between the two sides was how the spinners fared. Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in their combined 20 overs gave away 106 runs for a single wicket while Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj bowled 26 overs for 124 runs and snared four wickets among them. —

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