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India vs South Africa, 1st T20I, Preview: Litmus test for skipper Quinton de Kock in trying conditions

De Kock has previously led in a couple of ODIs and is yet to register a win as a national skipper.

Quinton de Kock South Africa
Quinton de Kock. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It’s been over a couple of months since South Africa ended their disastrous World Cup campaign. In the meantime, the Proteas appointed a new T20I captain in the form of Quinton de Kock, bearing in mind next year’s T20 World Cup. De Kock has led in a couple of ODIs last year, but couldn’t lead his team to victory. His first task in the T20I format will be against India that starts on September 15.

The opening game is scheduled to be played at the picturesque HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala. The team has quite a few players- Anrich Nortje, Bjorn Fortuin, George Linde and Temba Bavuma- who are yet to make their T20I debut. But having played a few unofficial One Dayers recently, they’ll be accustomed to the conditions. India, on the other hand, look a solid unit ahead of the fixtures.

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The hosts’ bowling doesn’t have a lot of experience by any means, but the unit performed decently in the West Indies. On the back of their show, the Men in Blue won the series in the Caribbean Islands 3-0. The same squad has been picked more or less for the games versus the Proteas. Virat Kohli and Co are set to embark on their home campaign and a winning start will be perfect for them.

Team Combinations

India

Shikhar Dhawan has been a tad off colour off late, but the fifties he got versus South Africa ‘A’ are expected to boost his confidence. The southpaw is likely to open with Rohit Sharma, who has four tons in T20Is. Shreyas Iyer didn’t get a game in the West Indies and he may get a chance. Manish Pandey was the one, who was preferred ahead of the Mumbai batter. Kohli remains as the fulcrum.

Rishabh Pant got a fifty in his last T20I, but it’s his consistency that he needs to work on. Hardik Pandya return to the national side after a two-month break. Krunal Pandya was the Player of the Series in the Caribbean and he’s in good shape. In the fast bowling unit, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini have been impressive. Rahul Chahar is the only wrist-spinner and he’s likely to play.

Probable XI

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Manish Pandey/Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar/Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar

South Africa

Reeza Hendricks missed out on the World Cup, but turned up with some useful knocks for the ‘A’ side. He’ll have the experienced De Kock as his opening partner. Temba Bavuma is a busy player and there’s a chance of him making his T20I debut. A lot would depend on how Rassie van Dussen performs. The right-hander has developed into a matured batter, especially from the World Cup.

David Miller’s role in the middle will also be critical. The visitors may go in with George Linde ahead of Dwaine Pretorius. Linde is a decent spin option and also has the ability to find the boundary. Phehlukwayo has been a key performer for them. Rabada and Shamsi are the most experienced in the bowling and they’ll need to bring forth their A-game.  The others need to step up as well.

Probable XI

Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock (C & WK), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, George Linde/Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Junior Dala/Anrich Nortje

Focus will be on

Hardik Pandya (India)

Hardik Pandya hasn’t played any cricket after the World Cup and it would understandable if the swashbuckler turns out to be a tad rusty. The Baroda all-rounder has grown into a powerful hitter and can ruffle a few feathers with the ball in hand as well. It’s important for him to keep bringing forth his A-game with India playing a couple of T20 World Cups in the next couple of years.

Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)

Kagiso Rabada was expected to deliver in the World Cup, however, he couldn’t live up to the expectations. The speedster started well against India and then his performances went down. He wasn’t running in and was far from his best. He was also accused of playing in the previous IPL. Nevertheless, bearing in mind the damage he can do, it’ll be foolish to write the pacer off.

Head to Head

Overall

Matches – 13 | India won – 8 | South Africa won – 5

In India

Matches – 2| India won – 0 | South Africa won – 2

Stat Attack

44- Runs Shikhar Dhawan needs to complete 7,000 T20 runs.

6– Wickets Kagiso Rabada needs to complete 100 T20 wickets

Broadcast Details

TV- Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 19:00 IST; 13:35 GMT

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