IND vs SA: How Shikhar Dhawan’s timely return boosted a ‘meek’ batting lineup

In advance of the ICC U-19 World Cup, Shikhar Dhawan, who rose to prominence while playing for India at the ICC U-19 World Cup, sent a special message to the Indian juniors. Dhawan, who played for India in the U-19 World Cup in 2004, and who scored three centuries in that tournament, wished the current team luck, saying, “Champions thrive under pressure.”

In the same way, the 36-year-old himself, who led an Indian team that was beaten by the South African juggernaut on Wednesday, could be said about himself. With 297 runs on the board, Team India went from 138/1 in 25.2 overs to 214/8 in 42.2 overs in pursuit of their target. The collapse of Team India’s batting order for 76 runs, which included seven wickets, once again demonstrated that batting may no longer be their strongest suit.

Over the course of their current tour of South Africa, the Men in Blue have only once reached a total of 300 runs, which came in the first innings of the first Test match in Centurion.

South African batsmen outwitted Indian bowlers on a sluggish surface yesterday, and the home side, despite the absence of two of their best bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, dealt with the Indian batters with relative ease.

Shikhar Dhawan was one of the players who gave the Proteas a difficult time in Paarl on Wednesday. The ‘Gabbar’ once again demonstrated his prowess in limited overs formats, scoring 79 off 84 balls, and if it hadn’t been for his dismissal by Keshav Maharaj, he and Kohli would have brought India a long way closer to their goal.

Within a two-year period beginning in 2020, Dhawan has scored 666 runs at a strike rate of 91.98 and an average of 60.54, outscoring all other Indian batsmen combined. Because India hasn’t played nearly enough One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in the past, it’s easy to overlook Dhawan.

However, ‘Gabbar’s timely return will undoubtedly benefit the’meek’ Indian batting lineup, which hasn’t quite roared in their full-form in quite some time. With the series tied at 1-1 going into the second One Day International in Paarl, the game will be decided on the performance of Shikhar Dhawan.

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