After laying the groundwork for India’s eight-wicket victory and giving them a 1-0 lead in the three-game run, Arshdeep attributed simplicity in planning and bowling in the right areas to deceive South Africa on a pitch with two speeds and a green tint.
“I had been thinking about what to say if I got the man of the match award and got a little excited (to come and talk). In the first one on DC, bhai (Deepak Chahar) set the tone and we knew there was lots of help from above. The plan was to keep it simple and bowl in the right places,” Arshdeep said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
Arshdeep had missed the series against Australia to work on conditioning at NCA and admitted he was refreshed by outsmarting South Africa’s batters. Asked about the wickets he enjoyed from his 3/32 spell, he said: “I enjoyed (David) Miller’s wicket because I thought he was expecting an outswinger, but instead I threw in an inswinger (to get him out for duck).”
“The thought was to get his (Keshav Maharaj) wicket, but he played well (hit three limits in his last over) and the plan could have been different. Hopefully I’ll give such performances in the future too.”
Arshdeep was praised after the game by opener and vice-captain KL Rahul. “He (Arshdeep) grows with every match and with every outing he gets better, he’s someone with a big heart and I’ve seen him up close playing in the IPL (for Punjab Kings when Rahul was there).”
“This season what he’s done for his franchise has been phenomenal and to be the number one death bowler on a team that has Rabada speaks highly of him. We always want a left arm seam and it’s great to have someone like Arshdeep.” to have.”
Although it was a dominant win for India, the hosts had to work hard to chase 107 into a tricky field. Rahul, who made 51 not out, had 14 of 31 balls at one point and was kept quiet by a slew of outswingers and inswingers save for surviving close lbw cries from Wayne Parnell and Kagiso Rabada.
It wasn’t until he opened up by smashing his wrists off Anrich Nortje long before six that Rahul found his groove and even landed the winning runs for India with a slog sweep over backwards square leg from Tabraiz Shamsi, which also brought him his fifty in 56 balls. He also shared a 93-point unbeaten run with Suryakumar Yadav (50 not out), whose free-flowing shots gave India much-needed momentum in the chase.
“Definitely, right up there (as the hardest field he’s played in a T20I). We’ve played in some tough conditions like this, but I didn’t get any runs, so this was hard work. It was incredible for Surya to get there come out and play those shots, we watched balls fly, sniff around, at two speeds and anything that can be difficult for a batter who was the wicket today.”
“When Surya came up with that approach after the first ball hit him, he just woke up and wanted to play his shots, be aggressive and take over the bowling. That helped me take my time and play one side.”
Rahul signed off by saying that he was mentally prepared to hang out and get India over the line. “We practiced here yesterday and that was also a humbling experience, we all came in mentally prepared as it wasn’t going to be an easy wicket and I was ready to do the dirty work, ready to be challenged and get the job done for the team.”