In 3rd T20I, team was slightly more aware of bowling department: Ruturaj Gaikwad

New Delhi: After registering a 48-run against South Africa in the third T20I, India batter Ruturaj Gaikwad said that the Men in Blue were more ware of the bowling department.

India came up firing in a do-or-die encounter as the hosts defeated South Africa by 48 runs to win the third T20I on Tuesday. While Ruturaj Gaikwad shone with the bat scoring 57 off 35 balls Yuzvendra Chahal bounced back with a stellar spell picking three wickets for 20 runs. Raina hailed Ruturaj, Chahal and Harshal Patel for sensational performance.

“The wicket was slightly better than the last two games. In previous games, the wicket was topping a little. I didn’t change my process as the pitch was better for batting in this game,” said Gaikwad in a post-match press conference.

“The conversation was just about staying positive because I think we played really well in the last two games and there were some crunch moments in which they overtook us and made sure that they would win in those moments. Today, we bowled really well and they had a batting collapse. Coming to this game, we were slightly more aware of the bowling department,” he added.

The T20I series against South Africa is the first one for Team India without a bio-secure bubble environment following the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaikwad said that the bubble increased the team bonding and the players are now adjusting to the increased attention.

“Being in a bubble was tough for a longer period of time. But one good thing I felt was that the team bonding increased, in whichever team I played for, be it an IPL (Indian Premier League) team or for the Indian team. There were a lot of team activities together. That has really helped and that will stay for the coming years as well,” said Gaikwad.

“Coming out of the bubble, there are a lot of fans in this country, and a lot of people are gathering near you. And this is the first series (without the bubble) so everyone is taking time to adjust to it. Because everywhere we go we are used to enclosed environments (in a bubble). People are not coming towards you and there is a distance from them. So coming out of that, a lot of fans coming closer to you, asking a lot of stuff, a lot of pictures and all that, so there is a lot of attention, and a lot of distraction as well. So both being in and out of the bubble have pros and cons. I’d say it is better to experience both,” he added.

India have opened their account in the five-match T20I series with this win in the do-or-die clash. With the series still 2-1 in favour of the visitors, the fourth T20I will be played on Friday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gujarat.

Batting first, a 97-run stand between Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) powered India to 179/5 in their allotted 20 overs. The first innings was a see-saw one as India dominated the first half of the innings, but South Africa pulled back momentum to their side in the other half.

In reply, the Proteas never looked like going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals and in the end were bundled out for 131 with five balls still to play. For Men in Blue, Chahal and Harshal Patel starred with the ball as they bagged three and four wickets respectively to derail the visitors’ chase. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel scalped one wicket apiece. (ANI)


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