Durban: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has blamed lack of substantial partnerships as the main reason behind his side’s six-wicket loss to India in the opening ODI of the six-match series, here.
Du Plessis feels the hosts were 60 runs short after electing to bat first on a Durban surface that progressively quickened up.
Du Plessis scored a classy 120, his ninth ODI hundred, but did not get the required support from the other end as Indian wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal strangled South African batsmen in the middle overs.
“We didn’t bat well today. As a batting unit, for the second top score to be 30 or 40 shows that there weren’t partnerships. The most basic thing about ODI cricket is two guys getting together and putting some sort of partnership together,” Du Plessis said at the post-match press briefing.
“I thought the Indian spinners bowled well but still we should have been better today against them.
“I certainly think we needed 300. 260 odd wasn’t enough on that deck. The last two games we played here, we got more runs and won. We chased 370 here against Australia. So, I think it’s unfair to say to the bowlers that they were poor. I thought we didn’t have enough runs. If we had got 60-70 more, it would have been easier for our bowlers,” he added.
Yadav and his fellow spinner Chahal shared five wickets between them to restrict South Africa to 269 for 8, a target which India overwhelmed with six wickets in hand to take a 1-0 lead in the six-match ODI series.
Yadav finished with 3 for 34 in 10 overs and was easily the pick of the India bowlers. He bamboozled the South African batsmen with his craft and removed JP Duminy, David Miller and Chris Morris to star in the win.
Du Plessis said the way Yadav and Chahal bowled last night, it shows ODI cricket is slowly tilting in favour of wrist spinners.
The Proteas skipper said both the Indian spinners brought in a surprise element for his batsmen, which was difficult to handle in one go.
“It shows that in white-ball cricket the game is moving towards wrist-spinners, because they have the ability to pick up wickets and that’s what they (Yadav and Chahal) did today,” Du Plessis said.
“We’ll have a good discussion after this game and hopefully in the second game we’ll play them better. It’s been a bad day at the office for us. So we need to quickly learn from the mistakes. It’s a very long series, so it’s important that we refocus for the next game,” he added.
Asked about the surprise element of the two Indian wrist spinners, Du Plessis said, “When we saw their team we knew they were going to bowl spin early to us. Obviously they have got another off-spinner as well.
Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup
Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to India
s hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.
Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitals
seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.
Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.
“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.
“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”
Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.
man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.
“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”
Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat
London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.
Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombe
s late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.
Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.
The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.
With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.
Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.
Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.
Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal
Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.
East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.
However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.
“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.
“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.
The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.
East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.