Shardul Thakur’s decisiveness slowly makes him a compelling choice for the starting eleven. The 30-year-old all-rounder from Palghar came back with the bat again on Friday, scoring a solid 40 against South Africa in the second ODI of the series in Paarl.
Shardul scored a 38-ball 40 while Ravichandran Ashwin added 25 from 24 deliveries to set an unbeaten seventh-wicket score of 48 in the last six overs, helping India reach 287 for six in their bid to even the series. Thakur had also given India some rest in the series opener, scoring an entertaining fifty from 43 deliveries with five fours and a six.
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He is quickly coming into the picture as a reliable hitting option for India and former pacesetter Zaheer Khan is to be credited with the ‘Palghar Express’.
Zaheer, who took 597 international wickets including Tests, ODIs and T20Is for India, also returned to Sharul’s early years. It was Zaheer who told Shardul to lose some weight when both players were part of the Mumbai Ranji camp.
“He also contributed with the ball and the bat. It was during his early years when he played Ranji. He caused a furore in domestic cricket for Mumbai with his fast bowling, and he also hit early. I feel happy after seeing Shardul fulfill his potential. Expectations are set of him and it is always a satisfying feeling to see a player do justice to his talent,” said Zaheer. Cricbuzz.
After putting on a batting show in the second ODI, Shardul Quinton held captive de Kock to break South Africa’s opening partnership. He finished 1/35 in five overs, adding to India’s lackluster display with the ball.
Previously, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul played knocks of 85 and 55 respectively, while India scored 287 for 6 in the allotted fifty overs. Despite a challenging total on the scoreboard, the Indian bowlers looked mediocre on the wicket, failed to scalp the wickets at regular intervals and put some pressure on the opposition.
De Kock (78 from 66 balls) joined by emerging sensation Janneman Malan (91 from 108 balls) added 132 for a match-deciding opening score as South Africa finally scored in 48.1 overs and an unassailable 2-0 -took the lead in the three-game series.
India has fallen to consecutive defeats in South Africa after taking a big win in the first Test last month. The action now shifts to Cape Town, where Rahul and Co are looking to claim a consolation ODI victory in the rainbow nation.