Despite getting off to a perfect start in the T20 World Cup with two wins in as many games, facing South Africa on a fast and bouncy Perth wicket was always going to be a challenge for Team India.
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And the concern was justified by the manner in which the Proteas attack tore the Indian batting order apart, with the Men in Blue losing half their side with less than 50 on board after electing to bat in the final match of the Sunday triple header.
And it was the pace department that breathed fire on Sunday evening, seamer Lungi Ngidi leading the way with a brilliant spell of 4/17 in a three-over burst. Besides Ngidi, who came in as a replacement for left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi as South Africa shored up their pace department for the clash, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje too were decisive with the ball, the latter accounting for Deepak Hooda’s wicket.
Watch: Ngidi wipes out Indian top-order including Rohit, Kohli
The Indian batters certainly had shown signs of discomfort against short-pitched bowling in the preceding games, especially against Pakistan where Haris Rauf had successfully cramped Suryakumar Yadav for room in the powerplay just as SKY was shaping for a ramp over the keeper.
And this was in Melbourne, where the bounce wasn’t as pronounced as at Perth, where the Proteas unleashed carnage with the short stuff on Sunday, making the Men in Blue wonder if their decision to bat was a wise one after all.
Here’s a detailed look at the dismissals in the first half of the Indian innings:
Lungi Ngidi to Rohit Sharma (15); India 23/1 in 4.2: Ngidi shortens his length just as the India skipper was shaping for another pull, resulting in a thick top-edge; the bowler dashes to his right and collects the catch safely in the end.
Lungi Ngidi to KL Rahul (9); India 26/2 in 4.6: Ngidi’s second strike in his first over of the evening, this time getting rid of the other Indian opener. KL Rahul was looking to guide this past short third man, but like his skipper, was undone by the extra bounce on offer as he ended up guiding it straight to Aiden Markram inside the ring.
Lungi Ngidi to Virat Kohli (12); India 41/3 in 6.5: The wickets continued to tumble for the Indians with Ngidi getting the prized wicket of Kohli. Much like Rohit, the former India captain looked to pull the short ball aimed at his throat, only to get a thick top-edge. Unlike ‘Hitman’ though, the ball flew all the way to fine leg instead of in front of square. The mishit would’ve fetched Kohli a six on most venues across the world, but resulted in a catch right next to the boundary for Rabada.
Anrich Nortje to Deepak Hooda (0); India 42/4 in 7.3: Nortje decided to join the party in which Ngidi had enjoyed the spoils so far, getting Hooda caught-behind for a three-ball duck as India lost their fourth wicket with a little over 40 on the board. Slightly fuller than what Ngidi had persisted with though too short for the drive, Hooda wasted the opportunity offered to him after being drafted into the XI in place of Axar Patel as he nicked the ball to give the keeper the easiest of chances.
Lungi Ngidi to Hardik Pandya (2): India 49/5 in 8.3: Team India were in deep trouble by the time Ngidi got rid of Pandya, this time Rabada pulling off a screamer by diving forward in front of the boundary at fine leg. The tall pacer used a similar approach against the middle-order batter as he did against Rohit and Kohli, the line slightly more towards middle and leg.