To win second T20, India must exploit South Africa’s spin weakness | cricket | Hindustan Times
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To win second T20, India must exploit South Africa’s spin weakness

Limiting spinners to two -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel -- India didn’t do themselves a favour when they failed to give Suresh Raina a bowl.

India vs South Africa 2015 Updated: Oct 05, 2015 19:01 IST
Sai Prasad Mohapatra
India vs South Africa cricket series 2015

Indian limited overs captain MS Dhoni’s decision to not give Suresh Raina, right, a bowl did not help the team in the loss in the first Twenty20. (PTI Photo)

When JP Duminy launched a clinical assault , he found a perfect partner in Farhaan Behardien in the Dharamsala Twenty20 tie on Friday.

Behardien admitted before coming to India he did a lot of preparatory work with coach Rob Walter, who made him play a lot of spin. In a team which is fairly represented by IPL stars — AB de Villiers, David Miller and JP Duminy — Behardien was well aware that India use plenty of spin in the middle overs to swing things their way. Behardien’s preparation as well as his team’s have come on the back of tours to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where heavy doses of spin were in supply. No guesswork is needed to assess how South Africa prepared extensively against spinners before landing in India. They even picked three spinners for the tour.

Being ready

“It is not a disadvantage at all. Each team has its weaknesses and strengths. Australia have four-five bowlers who bowl at 90 miles an hour, we have been fortunate to have four bowlers who can bowl 90 miles an hour. India have four to five quality spinners. Prior to this, we went to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where also we played a lot of spin,” Beherdien said when asked whether India lacked a genuine quick in the powerplay phase.

Though the question had more to do with the team needing a fast bowler, it gave a glimpse into the Proteas’ plans to tackle spin.

So, does that mean India have missed a point? Limiting spinners to two -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel -- India didn’t do themselves a favour when they failed to give Suresh Raina a bowl.

Spin, Rohit Sharma felt, was South Africa’s Achilles heel, yet India failed to exploit the advantage.

“It depends on the captain. What he feels is the right combination and what he is comfortable with.

“We have to play to their weakness. We know they are not so good against spinners. We have to wait and watch what the captain thinks is right.”

In pictures: South Africa beat India by 7 wickets in Dharamsala T20