Team India vice-captain and opener Rohit Sharma lauded the bowlers for saving the Men in Blue's skin and stepped up when the team needed them the most as they led India to win the three-match series 2-1. Skipper Virat Kohli was out with a stiff back which brought on a responsible deputy captain to take charge in a highly intense and pressurising match which however Team India passed with flying colours after a thriller of a fixture.
The Men in Blue posted 172 runs on the board in the first innings of the match after South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl first. However, it was the bowlers who managed who kept their nerve and bowled with patience despite being thrashed from time to time. Unfortunately for the hosts, India won the 3rd T20I by 7 runs.
The in-stand skipper Rohit felt that the score posted on the board were a few runs short and with the South African batsmen in great form, 172 wasn't good enough for Team India but gradually compliments the bowlers on doing their job well.
"To be honest, I thought we were 15 runs short. How the first half went, I thought we lost our way towards the end. I mean these things happen and we learn from it. It was a decent score and once again, the bowlers did it for us", said vice-captain Rohit Sharma during the post-match presentation.
Opener Rohit who was dismissed for 11 in the 3rd T20I, says that it is imperative for the top three opening batsmen to stick on and was glad to see the middle order perform.
"We know how crucial it is for our top three to stay as long as possible. It has happened throughout the series. Last match, it was pleasing to see our middle order perform. Hopefully, we can move forward as a group in the coming games. "
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/24) and Jasprit Bumrah (1/39) held things tight in their initial spells, while even Shardul Thakur (1/35) kept control of the scoring rate. So much so, the Proteas only managed to score 25 for one in the first six overs.
"We discussed certain plans and it worked. We tried to keep the ball on the stumps. Their batsmen like width. So it made them go after the bowling after 6 overs. It was a complete bowling unit performance," said Rohit Sharma after winning his first International match as captain.
The hosts had battled hard and in the initial end, South Africa batsmen had the chance to finish the job despite them hammering the bowlers in the last four overs, failed to finish the job as death over specialist Bhuvneshwar did what he does best which led India to win the last series of the tour 2-1.
"Throughout the series, we showed a lot of intensity, which helped us get those crucial wins. We never backed down from whatever situation we were thrown in."
Team India go back home with two series wins (ODI 5-1, T20I 2-1) and will now concentrate on the T20I Tri-nation series against neighbours Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting March 6.