Looking back at the five-match ODI cricket rubber, rising South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada termed his one-on-one battle with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the of opening contest in Kanpur as his best display of the series.
South Africa clinched the series 3-2 after humbling India by 214 runs in Mumbai on Sunday, but it all started at Green Park, where the visitors sneaked past Dhoni’s side by 5 runs. Sharing the new ball with pace spearhead Dale Steyn, Rabada bagged two wickets and got the dangerous Dhoni caught and bowled for 31 in the final over to deny India victory in Kanpur.
“The one that I really enjoyed was the first game (at Kanpur on October 11). It was pressure situation against MSD. I had not bowled to him (before), but I knew what he was capable of doing and the amazing things he had done in the past. That gave me quite a bit of confidence, pulling that one (victory) out in that type of situation,” said Rabada after the conclusion of the fifth and final ODI at the Wankhede Stadium.
Rabada was brought on to bowl against World Cup winning captain Dhoni in the last over of the game when India were within smelling distance of overhauling South Africa’s 303 and sent him back with a return catch before dismissing Stuart Binny off the next ball to halt the hosts’ charge at 298.
The victory allowed the visitors an early lead and made India do catch-up over the first four games.
The 20-year-old fast bowler, seen by many as the future of SA’s fast bowling lot in future grabbed a superb 4 for 41 on Sunday, said team effort helped his country notch up its first-ever victory in a bilateral series in India.
“It was great team effort in all the games. It was tough coming to play in India. We had not won a series here and made history on Sunday. India bounced back in Chennai. We knew today was a game of great magnitude. We came out with great intent,” he said.
“It was a great series and it was great playing against experienced and magnificent players. It was a titanic battle.”
Rabada, who matched senior fast bowling partner Steyn in pace, aggression and wicket haul (10) in the series, said that on the flat deck with some bounce he tried to bend his back to extract some life.
“I thought all the seamers bowled very well. There was a bit of bounce. I tried to bend my back a bit more, put extra pace. It looked a pretty flat wicket and needed to generate energy to the ball.”
He said currently his thoughts were not towards participating in the cash-rich Indian Premier League which, though he did not rule out the possibility in the future.
“My mind is not on IPL, mind is on winning series. It will be great to play IPL, something I want to do in future when it comes,” said the youngster, who admires the skills of Steyn, Australians Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and England’s Jimmy Anderson.
“I have a long way to go in my career. I am going to keep preparing well and make sure I can do better. I will push myself and will also be asking questions (to other bowlers),” he added.
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