South Africa were a bit unlucky but India clinical, says Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar praised India for their clinical annihilation of South Africa in their opening match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup in Southampton on Wednesday. However, Tendulkar felt South Africa were unlucky and reckoned the Proteas were depleted with the absence of Dale Steyen and Lungi Ngidi.

South Africa were dealt a big blow when Steyn was ruled out of the tournament and Ngidi out of the game against India. The two premium pacers could have put India under pressure upfront after a furious opening burst from Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris.

India, one of the pre-tournament favourites, bowled brilliantly before Rohit Sharma scored his 23rd hundred to lead the chase of 228. India were in early trouble after losing Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli but Rohit was involved in crucial partnerships with KL Rahul and MS Dhoni as the two-time world champions romped home with 6 wickets to spare.

It could have been a different story for South Africa. Rohit Sharma survived two close chances early on in the innings. He was man-of-the-match at the end of the day but had he got out early, the game could have got either way.

“India’s performance was clinical both bowling as well as batting. But I still feel South Africa are not the same team, they are a depleted side with the loss of (Dale) Steyn and (Lungi) Ngidi. Looking at their body language…it didn’t convince me that they were out there to fight.

“They tried upfront but they were unlucky. There were a few balls which fell into no-man’s land. But if you convert those into brilliant catches and when you take those catches and suddenly you look at the scoreboard with the opposition 3 wickets down, you think differently but that did not happen. South Africa were unlucky I think,” Tendulkar told India Today in an exclusive interview.

Tendulkar praised Rohit Sharma for his sterling hundred and said it was evident he wanted to spend time in the middle. Rohit was beaten several times and looked out of sorts but he held on to play one of his best ODI innings.

While Dhawan and Kohli fell cheaply, Rohit remained unbeaten on 122 to guide India to victory in front of thousands of expectant India fans. Tendulkar said it was important for batsmen to weather the early storm against quality bowlers like Kagiso Rabada.

“It’s all about spending time in the middle, hanging in there. One is expected to bowl like that when your name happens to be Rabada and he is a world class bowler. If he ends up bowling a couple of terrific deliveries, you accept that and move on. You need to understand what is happening off the surface but you can’t weigh that on your mind so much that if affects the way your going to play the next ball.

“You learn from what has happened in the previous delivery and start moving accordingly. Up front Rabada was really good and hot to handle because of the kind of movement that he generated off the surface.

“People talk about Shikhar Dhawan getting out today while chasing the ball. I don’t think he chased the ball, the delivery was pitched on middle-leg and it left him so it was a good delivery. All I would ask Shikhar to do is, instead of looking to play that ball towards mid-wicket, he should just hold on to a side-on position and wait for the ball to come. If it doesn’t leave you it will hit your thigh guard and you can take a single,” he said.


Courtesy : India Today

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