Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has expressed concern over Team India’s inability to close out matches in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. He opined that while the hosts have been in dominating positions in both matches, they have been found out when put under pressure.
India went 0-2 down in the five-match T20I series, losing the second game in Cuttack on Sunday by four wickets. Batting first after losing the toss, the Men in Blue were restricted to 148 for 6.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar then claimed three quick wickets to leave the Proteas reeling at 29 for 3. However, a fourth-wicket stand of 64 between Heinrich Klaasen (81 off 46) and skipper Temba Bavuma (35 off 30) put the South African innings back on track.
Reflecting on Team India’s second loss in a row, Zaheer Khan opined that the hosts’ shoulders dropped rather swiftly during the Klaasen-Bavuma stand.
“When the partnership was building (Klaasen-Bavuma), you could feel that the drive in the India team was going down. It was evident on the field. Those are the things Rahul Dravid and Co. need to address and do it quickly because there is only one day in between (before the 3rd T20I). They need to regroup, have some tough conversations, and identify what it is going to take for them to fight for 40 overs.”
Adding that something similar transpired in the first T20I, Zaheer Khan elaborated on Team India’s woes:
“Even in the first match, for 30 overs, you thought India were in the driver’s seat. Today again, they had the ideal start with the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was outstanding but they have not been able to close out games. Some concerns for India going forward in the series and a lot of pressure.”