Indian skipper Rishabh Pant has stressed that they need to get better as a batting unit despite their win in the third T20I against South Africa on Tuesday (June 14).
Batting first, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad gave the hosts a blistering start in Visakhapatnam. They added 96 runs for the first wicket in 10 overs to set up a platform for the batters to come.
However, the Proteas made a swift comeback with a couple of wickets on the trot. Shreyas Iyer (14) and Pant (six) failed to capitalize on a good start as they departed cheaply. Dinesh Karthik (six) also failed to make any significant contributions.
Rishabh Pant asserted that they will have to work on their batting ahead of their next game. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, he said:
“When you get a good start, it’s difficult for a new batter to come in and go big straightaway. We lost too many wickets. We’ll look to improve in the next match. We have to make sure that we finish the game with a bigger margin.”
Hardik Pandya made a significant contribution in the final overs to take the hosts’ total to over 170. The 28-year-old all-rounder scored a quickfire 31 off 21 balls to help India post 179 runs on the board.
Pant, who is captaining his first series in international cricket, revealed that they felt that they were a few runs short at the halfway stage. The 24-year-old added:
“We were 15 runs short, but we didn’t think much about that.”
In the end, it proved to be enough to win the game and keep the series alive. South Africa could only muster 131 runs, losing the game by 48 runs.
“Pressure is always there on them” – Rishabh Pant lauds his spinners
Defending a total of 179 runs, the Indian bowlers produced a fantastic effort after their lukewarm displays in the first two games. Harshal Patel picked up four wickets while Yuzvendra Chahal scalped three to derail the in-form Proteas batting.
Chahal, in particular, was spectacular with the ball. The 31-year-old, who had poor outings in the first couple of games, made a superb comeback, returning with figures of 3/20.
Praising his bowlers, Rishabh Pant said:
“We spoke about the execution and it was spot on from both the bowlers and the batters. In India, spinners always play a key role in the middle overs. Pressure is always there on them and we get performances like these when they come good.”
India will hope to keep the momentum going in the fourth T20I, slated to take place on Friday (June 17) at Rajkot.