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‘Spinners play important role in Indian conditions, there was pressure on them to perform’: Pant

By PTI

VISAKHAPATNAM: Delighted that his team was finally able to execute its plan to perfection, India skipper Rishabh Pant emphasized on the importance of spinners performing well in the middle overs, especially in Indian conditions.

The Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel bowled beautifully to help the hosts register a 48-run win over South Africa in the third T20I and stay alive in the five-match series.

“The execution was spot-on from the bowlers and the batters. We were 15 runs short, but we weren’t thinking about that. Bowlers did a fantastic job for us,” Pant said at the post-match presentation.

It was a much improved performance from Chahal (3/20) and Patel (1/28), who went for 75 and 59 in six and five overs respectively in the previous two games.

“In India, spinners play a big role. They contain the batsmen in the middle overs. So there is pressure on them to perform, but in such matches when it comes off, this is what happens.”

However, the skipper was not happy with the middle order batting collapse that saw India fall a few runs short of the expected total.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing for us (middle order not performing), but after a good start it’s difficult for new batsmen to go straight away. We will try to improve in the next match,” Pant said.

Chahal, who was awarded the Player of the Match for his sensational spell, said he bowled to “his strengths.”

“I was bowling too many and quick sliders in the last game. I spoke to Paras (Mhambrey) sir and coaches about it. So I tried to bowl quick leg-breaks, but with a different seam position today.”

“I want to turn and dip the ball, I couldn’t do it the last time so they were able to hit through the line. I tried to get some turn and change the line of the ball.”

“When you get middle-order batsmen out in the middle overs, the pressure is on them. Batsmen try a lot of sweeps and reverse sweeps these days so we have to be prepared for that too, as bowlers.”

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma felt “as a collective, it wasn’t our best effort.”

“They were the better. With the ball, they put us under pressure. The fielding really didn’t back us up. With the batting, we didn’t really pitch up. The partnerships weren’t there, there was no momentum. “

He rued the missed chances on the field including two dropped catches.

“There have been a lot of improvements in the fielding department, this game weren’t up to the mark, in the first two games we were quite strong.”

In the absence of star opener Quinton de Kock, the tourists struggled at the top.

“We tried to assess, tried to get some momentum, unfortunately, we couldn’t do that. Losing three early wickets always puts us under pressure. Quinton is an integral member of the team.”

“Unfortunately we don’t have him. We back Reeza (Hendricks) at the top. The opportunity is there, we’ll keep going with Reeza.”

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