'That flat six over long off was simply incredible and amazing': Gavaskar picks 2 big positives for India despite loss
Despite the big seven-wicket loss for the Men in Blue, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar picked two big positives.
Despite setting a mighty target of 212 runs, India's 12th 200-plus total in a T20I inning, the bowlers failed to defend the total as an unbeaten 131-run stand off just 63 balls between David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen saw South Africa chase down the total with five balls remaining. The sensational win of seven wickets, which included South Africa registering their highest successful chase in T20I cricket, helped the visitors end India's 12-run wining streak and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Despite the loss for the Men in Blue, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar picked two big positives.
One of India's main concern heading into the game was lack of intent in the powerplay. But India on Thursday made a perfect start scoring 51 for no loss with the new opening pair of Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad smashing six boundaries and 2 sixes. And while India lost Gaikwad in the seventh over for 23, Ishan carried the momentum before finishing with 76 off 48.
Speaking to Star Sports after the match, Gavaskar was full off praise for Ishan's intent with the bat.
“He didn't start off smoothly, there were a lot of outside edge and he was playing down the wrong line, but he stuck around. And sometimes when the ball is hard it is difficult to get the ball off the middle off the bat. But he settled down and go those 70 odd runs and he got that in quick time,” he said.
Another big positive for Gavaskar was Hardik's return as a all-rounder. Batting at No.5, Hardik scored an unbeaten 31 off 12 and he also bowled an over, albeit for 18 runs.
"Also down the order, Hardik Pandya coming down the order and smashing the ball around. These are really two big picks as far as the Indian team is concerned. Also Hardik bowling was a good sign. Yes he went for big runs in his one over but basically the fact that he is there...you can't expect him to come in his first over in international cricket after a long time and get everything right.
“He can sustain this form, absolutely, no doubt about that. And whenever India is batting second, he is always able to finish the game for the team. And shot that he played, that flat six over long off...that was incredible and amazing,” Gavaskar added.
The second T20I will be played on June 12 in Cuttack.