Rishabh Pant joined an unfortunate list as he became only the 2nd India men's team player to lose his first T20I match as captain. Pant's debut as the captain did not go as expected as India were outclassed in a high-scoring match -- the T20I series opener against South Africa in New Delhi on Thursday, June 9.
India posted 211 on the board but were unable to defend the total after South Africa completed their highest-ever successful chase in T20I cricket. Led by David Miller's 31-ball 64 not out and Rassie van der Dussen's unbeaten 75, South Africa gunned down the target in just 19.1 overs.
Notably, Pant took over as captain on the eve of the 5-match T20I series after KL Rahul was ruled out with an injury. The Delhi wicketkeeper-batter thereby became the 8th skipper for India in men's T20I cricket and the second youngest after Suresh Raina.
Pant joined Virat Kohli as the only 2nd captain to lose his first match as the skipper. Kohli had made his debut as T20I captain against England in Kanpur in 2017 and India lost the fixture by 7 wickets. Notably, both Pant and Kohli had identical scores of 29 in their first match as India's T20I captain. Nonetheless, Kohli went on to become one of India's most successful white-ball skippers before stepping down from the role last year.
India also lost a T20I match after scoring more than 200 runs in the first innings for the first time in their history. The Asian giants had a record of 11-0 in T20Is where they batted first and posted in excess of 200 before Thursday's match.
India were bidding to set a world record for the most successive wins in T20I cricket but their 12-match winning streak was snapped by some batting brilliance from South Africa.
India rode on Ishan Kishan's 76 and handy contributions from Shreyas Iyer, captain Pant and Hardik Pandya to post 211 on the board in 20 overs after Temba Bavuma won the toss and opted to bowl. However, Miller and van der Dussen sealed the match with a 131-run unbeaten stand for the 4th wicket.
"We had enough on the board, but I think we were a little off with the execution. But sometimes you got to give credit to the opposition. Miller and RvD batted well. Slower balls were working when we batted, but the wicket got better in the second innings," Pant said after the defeat on Thursday.
India and South Africa will meet in the 2nd T20I in Cuttack on Sunday, June 12.