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Half-centuries from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant sees India to decent first innings score against Proteas

Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul of India during the second ODI againt the Proteas. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul of India during the second ODI againt the Proteas. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 21, 2022

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Zaahier Adams at Boland Park

Paarl - Two half-centuries from India captain KL Rahul and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant help set South Africa a target of 288 in the second ODI here at Boland Park.

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The visitors need to win to take the series into a decider at Newlands on Saturday, while the Proteas' batsmen will be looking close it out to complete the home "double" over the Indians.

India had begun their innings in a comfortable fashion with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan benifitting from a few early nerves from the recalled Sisanda Magala. The burly Highveld Lions paceman replaced Marco Jansen in the only change to the Proteas line-up.

However, with India coasting along to 63 without loss, South Africa's new "golden arm" Aiden Markram tempted Dhawan (29 off 38 balls, 5x4) into playing a big slog sweep only for the left-hander to be caught by Magala.

South Africa, though, were really thrown a lifeline when former India skipper Virat Kohli tamely chipped Keshav Maharaj to Temba Bavuma the over to be dismissed for a duck, leaving India on 64/2.

Rahul and the promoted Pant went about restoring India's innings in a positive manner after the loss of Kohli. Pant, in particular, found the conditions to his liking as he went on the offensive.

The pair added 115 off just 111 balls for the third wicket that seemingly set India up for a total in the region of 300.

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But just when India were really looking to put their foot down on the accelerator, South Africa struck another double blow in a couple of overs.

Magala claimed his first ODI wicket when returning for a second spell KL Rahul chipped a ball off his pads straight to Rassie van der Dussen at mid-wicket.

And then it was Tabraiz Shamsi's turn to exact revenge after previously being punished for 33 in three overs, primarily off the bat off Pant.

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With the Indian wicket-keeper looking to attempt another big hit, he could only manage to find a diving Aiden Markram.

India's innings though did not melt away in the searing Boland heat with solid contributions from Venkatesh Iyer (22) , Shardul Thakur (40 not out) and Ravi Ashwin (25 not out) that giving India's bowlers a competitive target to defend on a wicket that will only get slower and more difficult to bat on in the afternoon.

@ZaahierAdams

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