India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar once again delivered a match-winning performance at Newlands on Saturday as India won it’s eighth consecutive bilateral T20I series win (of three or more matches). After setting a target of 173 for the Proteas, India were mostly on top until the end, when the match went down to the wire. However, the ever dependable – Bhuvneshwar Kumar varied pace and length beautifully to flummox the batsmen and guide his side to a well deserved victory. He returned with figure of 24/2 in 4 overs which included 10 dot balls. For his consistent performance throughout the series, Kumar was also chosen as the Player of the Series. He also ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the series with 7 wickets in his bag.
Reflecting on his performance Bhuvneshwar credited the Indian Premier League for making bowlers streetsmart and said, “It’s all about how you prepare yourself before every series. IPL has made Indian bowlers thinking bowlers. It’s important not to give away too many runs in the powerplay. You had to keep it simple and of course slower balls and knuckle balls were there. You hardly get wickets like these in India.”
Earlier, Bhuvneshwar was handed the responsibility of bowling the final over and defending 19 runs. The India seamer did not disappoint his captain and kept a calm head and consistently kept the ball full and outside the off-stump. Batsmen- Farhaan Behardien and Christiaan Jonker struggled to time the ball as each delivery was bowled with a different variation, the knuckle-ball being the most effective. Kumar’s impact for the Indian side can be gauged from the statistic which shows that he bowled 66 deliveries and conceded just 67 runs including one fifer.
Rohit Sharma, who led India as captain in the 3rd T20I, also praised the aggression with which India played throughout the series. “We will take these limited-overs trophies, throughout the series we played with a lot of aggression. As a group, we never back down from any situation. That is the reason we are standing here as winners,” he said, He further praisded India’s bowling effort.
“We discussed certain plans and it worked today. The idea was to keep the ball on the stumps and we kept it tight in the first six overs. Credit to the new-ball bowlers. It was a complete bowling performance. To be honest, we were 15 runs short. Because the way the first half went, I thought we lost our way in the end. These things happen and we learn from it. I thought it was a decent score and the bowlers did the job for us. I hope games like these teach us a lot of things,” he said.