'It's tremendous the way they played' - Shikhar Dhawan lauds India's middle-order after close defeat to South Africa

South Africa survived a late assault from Sanju Samson to register a much-needed win in the first ODI.

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Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Photo Source: Twitter)

South Africa prevailed in a close contest in the first ODI against India in a rain-curtailed affair in Lucknow on Thursday, the 6th of October. The Proteans looked comfortable throughout the match but were handed an almighty scare by a breathtaking assault from Sanju Samson. India's stand-in skipper Shikhar Dhawan was all praise for the trio of Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, and Shardul Thakur, who took the hosts close to a daunting total.

Chasing a target of 250, India's innings was off to an unceremonious start after losing Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan inside the powerplay. The South African pacers were on top of things on a pitch that had plenty on offer for the bowlers. India further slipped in the match losing Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad in successive overs. With the score reading 51/4, the result felt like a foregone conclusion.

But a counterattacking partnership between Iyer and Samson dragged India back into the contest before Thakur and Samson started threatening the Protean total. But the runs proved to be too many in the end as Sooth Africa ran out victors by nine runs. Dhawan praised the batting efforts of the trio in the post-match conference.

"Very proud of the way the boys played. It's tremendous the way Shreyas, Samson and Shardul played," Dhawan said after the narrow loss in the first ODI.

'Fielding-wise, we leaked a few runs', Dhawan highlighted India's poor fielding effort in the series opener

India had an absolute mare in the field as the players dropped some crucial chances which could have restricted the visitors to a lower total. The stand-in Indian skipper was quick to highlight the poor fielding effort and felt that the South African took full advantage of the drop chances posting a total that was a bit too many on a challenging surface.

"I thought 250 was too many runs, because the wicket had turn and seam. Even fielding-wise, we leaked a few runs; but it'll be a good experience and learning for the young boys," Shikhar added.

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