‘Had to make Team India pay after Shreyas Iyer dropped my catch’: Van Der Dussen after team’s emphatic win in series opener

Written by Mohan Sharma

212 runs is the highest score by a team batting first in T20I cricket at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and only the second 200-plus total at the venue. And despite South Africa playing cat and mouse with the required rate, India remained in a dominant position with Rassie van der Dussen struggling at one end and David Miller looking to control the innings from one end. But all it took just one dropped catch opportunity to change the entire momentum for South Africa as the visitors ended the game with a thumping seven-wicket win in New Delhi in the series opener.

At the 10th over mark in the chase, South Africa were 86 for three with Rassie struggling at 15 off 16. David Miller had justed walked in and was at 4 off 5. Last time a team chased 125 runs or more in the last 10 overs of an innings was in 2010. The odds were immensely against the visitors.

“When David came in,” van der Dussen revealed after the game, “I said to him, ‘You can play it as you see it but I’m pretty happy to take between 12 and 13 an over in the last ten.’ Because if you were in on this wicket, you could really capitalise. So we didn’t panic at all. We knew even if the asking rate got up to 14-15, we could use that one short boundary with the right-left combination. We knew we could target the bowlers.”

Miller aptly responded to the plan as he took on Harshal Patel and then Axar Patel to hit a flurry of boundaries. In 22 balls, Miller reached the half-century mark, but Rassie continued at a run-a-ball rate, scoring 29 off 30. And when he managed to break free, he hit straight to Shreyas Iyer at deep mid-wicket. And despite it being a regulation catch, Iyer dropped it.

“When Shreyas dropped it, I knew I had to make them pay because I took the balls to get myself in,” Rassie said.

And unfortunately for India, the entire game changed. Rassie smashed 45 runs off the next 15 balls as South Africa completed the chase in 19.5 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

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Mohan Sharma