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Lots to ponder after the Rain Ruins series decider

INDIA TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA, 2022

Lungi Ngidi dismissed the openers before the rain played spoilsport © BCCI

Kaptein span die seileexploded around Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru at the scheduled start time for the decisive T20I on Sunday (June 19), confusing thousands of pairs of ears in the crowded stands. “Captain span the sails” is a pop song Afrikaans nerdy about a woman waiting for a man.She is above the horizon – in some rows where the sun sets, in others where it rises.Hence the plea to set sail.

The crowd was in the dark about the whole thing, but they didn’t need the rain and its implications for cricket were explained. Enough fell when the first ball was due to be played to chase the players off the field, mopping up their shirts as they ran for cover.

For the fifth time in the series, South Africa had won the draw. For the fifth time, they had chosen to align. This time, Keshav Maharaj had taken the team sheet in the middle. Temba Bavuma’s elbow, which he injured while diving. making his ground at Rajkot on Friday, had kept him out. Reeza Hendricks replaced Bavuma, Tristan Stubbs cracked a header as the extra hitter – Tabraiz Shamsi made his way – and Kagiso Rabada, who missed Friday’s game with a reproach, came on to replace Marco Jansen India has retained the XI which had battled from 2-0 to level things before the decider.

If Lungi Ngidi hadn’t spent the entire IPL working on his fitness instead of playing even a single game for the Delhi Capitals, he might not have reduced the damage to 20 points in three overs while sending Ruturaj Gaikwad and Hardik Pandya back to Rajkot – and so he might not have kept his spot on Sunday.

But rain forced Ngidi to wait the better part of an hour to let a reduced innings slip away at 19. Visibly leaner and with a gleaming sharpness in his eyes that may have just played his second game in 89 days , he ripped Ishan Kishan with the fourth ball of his first over – a 140 kilometer-per-hour effort that deflected off the leg and was called wide. His next delivery was complete and 18 kilometers slower. It baffled Kishan wading and nailed his kilometer stump. With the second ball from his follower, Ngidi conjured another off-kick – which Gaikwad hoisted into mid-on cupped hands. But the return of the drizzle had been apparent even when Ngidi rushed to the wicket, and he only played one shot. no more ball before the covers come back on.

So, we’ll never know if South Africa would have regained the calm determination that put them in a series win after the games in Delhi and Cuttack, or if India’s momentum would still have burned at following his emotional victories at Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.

“It would have been an exciting end to what has been an exciting tour,” Maharaj said in his TV interview. Rishabh Pant also regretted what could have been: “The way the whole team showed their character was great to see. We are finding different ways to win, which we have never seen.” Indeed, India won without Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, who were rested, and the injured Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar and Suryakumar Yadav.

At a press conference, Mark Boucher said Aiden Markram’s absence due to Covid-19 upended the visitors’ basic game plan: “We wanted to play six hitters with Aiden being our sixth option of bowling. It was a huge loss for us. He is ranked third in the world [as a T20I batter]so it was always going to hurt us.”

But Boucher reluctantly settled for a streak: “You don’t just flip India and expect to win.” And because: “We’ve asked a few questions about this tour, and we have some good answers.” Most of them will relate to South Africa’s stick, particularly their tendency to score slowly on the power play.

They will have time to think about it during their crossing of the Indian Ocean. The captain has raised the sails and the horizon is calling. This ship is coming home.

© Cricbuzz

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