Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
A wet outfield saw the three-match Twenty20 series between India and South Africa end on a disappointing note as the final match was abandoned without a single ball being bowled.
The showers that fell over Kolkata were gone approximately an hour before the match began and, despite three supersoppers being used to dry the ground, the outfield remained too soggy to play on.
Three inspections were carried out, but with conditions still not up to standards, the match was eventually called off.
For South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, the abandonment of the third Twenty20 International was a bitter pill to swallow as he was targeting a 3-0 whitewash after the Proteas won the first two matches.
“Disappointing, the rain played a huge role today,” he said during the post-match presentation ceremony. “The players safety is quite important on such a long tour. I think its really important to acknowledge how hard it is to come to India and win a series. We will take a lot of confidence going into the ODIs. Saying that India will be fresh, they would want to set the record straight. We need to be wary. We are very fortunate to have great leaders in our team.
“Myself, Hashim and AB work really well together. We rely heavily on each other. JP did really well. Kagiso was fantastic as well, especially in the second game. The standout for me were the four seamers. I think in the first game, they got off to a great start, we pulled it back and then JP took over. But in the second game, to bowl India out for 90-odd, that doesn’t happen a lot.”
In regards to India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the third Twenty20 International provided him and his side with an opportunity to gain a consolation win prior to the start of the ODI series.
“We wanted to make a few changes in the side. Wanted to change the batting order. It’s sad that we were not able to play,” he said. “This is one venue where you really want to play. Don’t want to come here and then not play a game. Three changes, we were planning to make: Jinks was supposed to open, Raina to bat at No. 3 and Mishra would’ve played. Binny would’ve played too. See what really would have been best for us.
“Played here a lot, for the outfield to change a lot, I knew it wouldn’t change. There was no sun. The rain was a lot too, even if it was only an hour. The ODIs will be good, again a lot will depend on the kind of venues and the toss as well. Kanpur being one of them. Dew is always a factor, once you play after September. We would like to play the surface that is provided to us. But at the same time, we want to make the most of the home series. Don’t want a lot of grass cover, difficult for the spinners with dew as well.”
South Africa all-rounder Jean Paul (JP) Duminy was named Man of the Series, and said: “Very happy. Unfortunately we didn’t get a game today. Would have been nice to have gotten another game under the belt. If someone had to give us 2-0, we would have taken it. It’s always a tough series to play in India against India. Going to be a good five-match ODI series, it’s very exciting and we are definitely looking forward to it.”