Hello and welcome to The Quint’s podcast. I am Abhik Deb and in today’s podcast, we will talk about Team India’s campaign opener at the ICC World Cup against South Africa. To keep first things first, a big shoutout to all those supporting the Men in Blue because they have pulled off a clinical performance to register a six-wicket win over the Proteas.
I have with me a few of my colleagues and we will discuss a lot of cricket here because we simply love to do that but first a recap of what happened in the match.
South African captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat first. His decision raised a few questions as the South African top order found themselves facing a seething Jasprit Bumrah who made short work of the two openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.
Leg Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal then took over from where Bumrah had left and ripped through the South African middle order. Chahal eventually finished with four wickets, conceding 51 runs in his 10 overs.
Here’s what Chahal said about his performance after the match:
Chahal: ("Obviously it is a great feeling because I'm playing the first match and it's a world cup, so I was very happy for my performance today."Obviously, I do talk to Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni), Virat bhai (Kohli), Rohit bhai (Sharma), Shikhar bhai (Dhawan)...we talk about how the wicket behaves and then accordingly I plan (the strategy), like how a particular batsman is playing, whether he is able to pick googlies, and so I bowl accordingly.")
Here's what Captain Kohli had to say about Chahal’s spell:
“Chahal, the way he changed the middle overs today, to realise that even after we had claimed two early wickets, and how important it is to still take wickets in the middle overs...the way their (career) graph has changed, I first witnessed it with RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore).
What I saw was that here is a youngster, who is willing to bowl any time, he will bowl during the power play, keep seven fielders inside and he is still come on and bowl, so you know his belief is very high right now and his ability to think about cricket, the game, is vastly different from many other people. So has absolute knowledge about the state of the game, how the pitch behaves, where he has to bowl, what sort of pace to bowl to at which batsmen, so his thinking is power is very different to other players.
I think that is his strength, that's the mental belief that he has now, the way he has risen through, all the credit goes to him. And nobody else. Because he has come and bowled with his heart, there wasn't any fear, did not try and stop the runs, he says I just need wickets and I think that's been his biggest strength. Just as I said, all the credit should go to him."
Coming back to the match, Chahal and Bumrah’s exploits left South Africa reeling and 89 for 5 and then 135 for 6. However, some late order resistance from Morris, Rabada and Phehlukwayo ensured that they reach 227 in their 50 overs. Morris top- scored with a 34-ball 42.
Coming in to bat India got off to a somewhat patchy start as they lost opener Shikhar Dhawan early and were slow to get off the blocks. Skipper Kohli departed soon as well. Pacer Kagiso Rabada was particularly hostile at the beginning and South Africa were a bit unlucky that a few half chances did not go their way.
This is exactly what Chris Morris said after the match:
(Morris: “The first five overs, things did happen. Unfortunately, they didn't land for us. Flip of the coin landed on the Indian side unfortunately with the few opportunities that came our ways. And when the ball lands in no-man's-zone like that in the first five overs three times it is quite difficult. The opportunities were there. Unfortunately, it didn't go for us today. We created our chances. I thought we bowled really well with the new ball.”)
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma went along to score his 23rd One-Day century and with some solid support in the middle order from KL Rahul and MS Dhoni, India reached the target in the 48th over, at the loss of 4 wickets.
Rohit’s unbeaten knock of 122 bagged him the Man of the Match award and according to Kohli this was his best innings.
(Kohli: "I think in my opinion this is by far his best ODI innings because of the kind of pressure the first game brings from a World Cup point of view. And then I know, as a batsman, when you go in and a few balls bounce like that, it's not easy to gather yourself again and play in a calm manner. A lot of times batsmen tend to hit their way out of the situation. But he was very composed, he was very – he's played so many games, we expect a lot of maturity and a lot of responsibility from someone like him.”)
Now that we are done with the story of the match let us discuss on some finer details. I have with me Shreeda, Anubhav and Sushovan.
Let’s hear from them on some of the major talking points from the match: Despite India’s emphatic performance, is there something to ponder upon? How does South Africa bounce back from the situation they are in? Are the Proteas missing the superman called AB de Villiers?