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Rohit winces, snake sidles, Surya dazzles, Quinton-Miller try: India vs South Africa 2nd T20I


Quinton de Kock and David Miller are known Indophiles. Between them they have represented 7 IPL franchise teams – Sunrisers Hyderabad, RCB, MI, Lucknow Super Giants, Gujarat Titans, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI. They are friends with most in the Indian team – they have shared dressing rooms and team hotels with them. Being senior members of their IPL sides, they have been part of team core groups that have hatched plans against all the regulars of the Indians team.

With about 7 overs to go in the chase, the two had to score close to 18 runs – three sixes – per over to win for South Africa. In the next over they did manage three. Since India is their second home, almost like their backyard, they knew the conditions. They are well aware that no run-mountain is tough to conquer when in India. They were up against Arshdeep, Axar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar – all sly bowlers in the business of conning big hitters in death overs. And that made the difference. In the last 5 overs they needed to score 20 per over, in the final 3 overs it was 24. In the final over it was 37. Six sixes and a no-ball – Indians had bowled many during the game. If not 6, they did hit 3 and South Africa fell short by 16 runs. The two men, who knew India like the back of the hands, couldn’t pull it off. But they did run them close.

– Sandeep Dwivedi

Hit, wince, pop pill, Six!, Cottonwool. Ro-drill

Second over of the day, Rohit Sharma is hurt on the finger and pain could be felt in the Indian dug-out. With the chatter over Jasprit Bumrah still very much alive, coach Rahul Dravid had ‘not one more’ look on his face. On the central square, Rohit had company, his opening partner KL Rahul, umpires and the team physio. Rohit would grimace every time he would flex his finger to comprehend the extent of damage. With suspense growing,Yuzvendra Chahal, on waterboy duty, would be sent to check in. Rohit was seen popping pills and ready to take guard again. A six to the long on within balls would have the spirits of the dug-out soaring and smiles returning. But it was a scare. With the World Cup to start in a fortnight, it is very likely India wouldn’t be taking chances. Anyone taking bets – Rohit might be rested for the next game.

– Sandeep Dwivedi

***
Snake, meet cricket; cricket, Mr Snake

At the end of 7 overs of the Indian innings as the South Africans were repositionsing themselves, giving them company was a snake that was moving towards long-on.

Snake on the ground during the 2nd India-South Africa T20I in Barsapara Cricket Stadium. (Screengrab: Hotstar)

In the history of the game, there have been several weird reasons for play getting stopped, but this was a first. Barsapara Cricket Stadium at Guwahati, Assam became the unique venue where a game was briefly stopped because of a gleaming black slithering reptile.

Surprisingly, the ground staff were equipped for the uninvited encroacher. It was a clear sign that snakes around here are genuine cricket fans and not the kind who only turn up for international games. The group of four uniformed men that sprinted on to the ground didn’t seem nervous. One had a snake catching stick in hand and the other had a pail. The broadcasters played spoilsport as they moved the cameras from the snake-hunting expedition and started showing old footage of Rohit Shamra hitting sixes.

Traditionally, in India, it has been a good old stadium dog that was in the habit of making its presence felt on D-Day. Once in a while an army of bees have invaded the ground, forcing the humans to sprawl on the ground. A rhino would have been ideal but Assam got into the history books because of a snake.
***

– Sandeep Dwivedi

 

Wrist assured, Surya hits incredible Six!

“It’s an unbelievable shot,” Ravi Shastri would say. He would repeat it again a few times. Suryakumar Yadav with a shot that defied cricketing conventions, geometry of angles and laws of physics had hit a six exactly behind him. This was no top edge, this was no mishit, this was a shot from the middle of the bat. And this against not some military medium bowler but world’s premier pacer Kagiso Rabada. He got a full toss on the hips and Surya, like only he can, used those magical wrists of his. A full ball, slightly towards the leg-side, got a booster dose from Surya’s bat. If the bowler had plans to get Surya caught on the square leg fence by bowling a full toss, it wouldn’t work. On crease was Mr 360 who was changing the rules of the game. The ball after leaving Rabada’s hand never touched the ground, it kept sailing after a brief meeting with Surya’s bat. Shastri kept repeating ‘unbelievable’ – speaking for the cricketing world that was in a state of disbelief.

– Sandeep Dwivedi





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