Sanju Samson put in a heroic effort during his unbeaten 86-run innings, while Shreyas Iyer made a counterattacking fifty, and Shardul Thakur delivered an incredible cameo in the dying moments. But despite the trio’s valiant efforts, India was defeated by South Africa by nine runs in the first ODI of the series on Thursday at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
India found themselves losing four wickets for 51 runs as David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen powered South Africa to 249/4 after weather delayed the start by two and a half hours.
After that, Samson and Iyer had a 67-run stand before the latter put up a critical 93-run partnership with Thakur off 65 balls, but India lost by a little margin, handing South Africa crucial ten points to work toward a direct qualification in the ODI World Cup next year.
When Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell respectively got rid of Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan by thick inner edges unsettling the stumps, India’s aim of chasing 250 was dealt significant blows.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, a rookie, scored just 19 runs before being stumped by Tabraiz Shamsi. Ishan Kishan’s 37-ball stint at the crease was ended in the following over when he was caught at leg-slip by Keshav Maharaj.
India appeared to have won the match when they reached 51/4 in 17.4 overs. Iyer, however, gave the pursuit some much-needed momentum by using his feet and good timing to attack the bowlers. He swept, lofted, and punched Tabraiz Shamsi in a bizarre attack to score a hat-trick of fours.
Iyer resumed his counterattacking innings by hitting Lungi Ngidi twice for fours before playing a late cut off Maharaj to reach fifty in 33 deliveries. Iyer, though, was misled by extra bounce on a short ball in the very next over and pulled straight to mid-on.
Thakur made a strong start with two quick fours and escaped two lbw shouts from Shamsi, on which South Africa burned their full allotment of reviews, despite the needed run rate exceeding 10. Before scoring his second ODI fifty, Samson took the initiative to be the aggressor, lofting and pulling brilliantly for boundaries.
After reaching fifty, Samson took two consecutive fours off Shamsi, then Thakur took advantage of Rabada’s brisk delivery to smack three consecutive fours in a 14-run 37th over. A crucial 93-run stand off 65 balls was broken in the next over when Thakur glided down the pitch to heave but was caught at mid-off.
At 110/4 in 22.2 overs earlier, South Africa was on the verge of a low total when Miller (75 not out off 63 balls) and Klassen (74 not out off 65 balls) put on a thrilling 139-run stand off 106 balls to lift South Africa to a respectable total on a field that offered something for bowlers.
India discovered movement to defeat Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan a few times. When Gill dropped his catch at first slip off Thakur, Malan had luck on his side. De Kock began play by hitting two fours off rookie leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi. Then, in the thirteenth over, Thakur provided India with a crucial breakthrough when Malan’s flick sailed to mid-wicket off the toe of the bat.
He returned to dismiss Temba Bavuma while Aiden Markram was out for a five-ball duck by Kuldeep. When the ball began to drift across Markram, the left-arm wristspinner quickly spun back in, slipping between the space between the bat and the pad to rattle the top of the off-stump. De Kock’s resistance came to an end when, while attempting a reverse sweep, he was caught lbw off Bishnoi.
Klassen had hammered three fours when Miller arrived at the crease. Before stunningly lofting Bishnoi over mid-off for six, Miller, whose improving game against spin has been an astonishing story this year, took two fours in his first six balls. Before Klassen and Miller hit boundaries off of Bishnoi and Kuldeep and Thakur for two fours, the duo traded ones and twos.
South Africa scored 54 runs in the final five overs after both players reached their individual fifty-run marks in the 36th over. Miller and Klaasen also benefited from India’s shoddy fielding, with Siraj, Gaikwad losing catches, and Kishan making a mistake at backward point that resulted in a four-run loss. In the final three overs, Miller struck two sixes and a four, while Klassen hit a four, giving South Africa a total good for a 1-0 series lead.
Brief Scores: South Africa 249/4 in 40 overs (David Miller 75 not out, Heinrich Klaasen 74 not out; Shardul Thakur 2/35, Kuldeep Yadav 1/39) beat India 240/8 in 40 overs (Sanju Samson 86 not out, Shreyas Iyer 50; Lungi Ngidi 3/52, Kagiso Rabada 2/36) by nine runs
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