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India vs South Africa, 3rd T20I, Preview: Virat Kohli’s men aim to register their first series win over the visitors on home soil

Can South Africa make a comeback?

Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After what turned out to be yet another stroll in the park for Virat Kohli and his men, the T20I series now moves to the land of the Royal Challengers as the hosts aim to seal the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series. The Proteas got off to a sparkling start in the second game with skipper Quinton de Kock leading the way in the powerplay overs.

The southpaw struck Navdeep Saini for three consecutive boundaries, showing everyone just how good a batsman he is. But his dismissal after a sparkling knock also came to highlight how the Proteas are dependent on the left-hander and considering the side as a plethora of inexperienced batsman, he needs to take responsibility and try and bat deep.

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Despite a brisk start in the powerplay courtesy de Kock’s blitz, the Proteas huffed and puffed their way to 7-149, and therein lies the ‘Miller’ size problem. ‘Killer Miller’- people used to gasp while uttering those two words whenever the left-hander used to turn up at Mohali for the Kings XI Punjab during the initial years of this decade.

But on Wednesday, the burly South African struggled to force the issue when his side really needed a kick-on and post a total that could challenge the might of Indian batting. And, as it turned out, his inability coupled by lack of wickets upfront for Rabada and Nortje and of-course a bit of Kohli magic ensured it was an easy win for India.

As for the hosts, despite an easy win in Mohali, everything is not hunky-dory. All eyes will be on the bowling combination they play considering Chinnaswamy is a safe heaven for batsmen, and of-course, Rishabh Pant as scrutiny intensifies on the mercurial wicket-keeper. Oh, and by the way, there is a bit of history waiting to be made! If India does go on to win the last T20I, it’ll give them their first series win against the Proteas on home soil.

Team Combinations

India

Before the start of the series, there was a lot of talk in the cricketing folklore about India’s approach while batting in T20I cricket. There were talks as to how India have approached T20Is as an extension of One-Day cricket with a safety-first and platform building mindset; something that is a cornerstone to success in the longer format of white-ball cricket, the same can’t always be true about Twenty20 cricket.

And, while they have been consistent in the format in the past four years, time and again the strategy has come back to bite them on flat decks, like it did in the 2016 WT20 semi-final.In the past game in Mohali, the signs of a shift from the approach was witnessed with Rohit and Shikhar throwing caution to the wind in the first 3-4 overs. Before the series, the spotlight was on Shikhar Dhawan.

Dhawan’s T20 numbers have been dismal this year and while he didn’t get a half-century, there were signs of him having regained his old form, and may have done just enough to play in the starting XI in Bengaluru. Another thing to look forward to, as far as the Indian team is concerned, is where dies Rishabh Pant bat?

Will India swap the underfire wicket-keeper with Shreyas Iyer, who has impressed with his every outing this season? Swapping Pant with Iyer could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the former, in particular. For, it will allow him to play his natural game in the death overs and it would give the hosts enough ammunition in the tank with the likes of Pandya brothers and Jadeja to follow him. But, will India take what seems like a logical step? We’ll wait and see.

Also, what about the bowling combination? Will India again play three finger spinners considering the conditions in Bengaluru. Or will Rahul Chahar get a look-in?

Probable XI

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

South Africa

South Africa would want their senior players in skipper Quinton de Kock and David Miller to anchor the inexperienced batting unit. In the first T20I, de Kock got out immediately after stroking a half-century, and while Tenda Bavuma held the fort from one end, the absence of any real firepower from the other end hurt their cause.

Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen have been one of the leading getters for the Proteas in the past 8-10 months and the Proteas would hope that their failure in the first game was a blip. On the bowling front, South Africa would like a few wickets from their opening bowlers. Both Rabada and Nortje bowled on a shorter side against the Indian openers allowing them to get off the hooks. de Kock can think of bringing in Junior Dala; a bowler who has had a considerable amount of success against Rohit Sharma [thrice in 3 T20Is].

Probable XI

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

Focus will be on

Rishabh Pant (India)

3, 1, 0, 4, 65*, 5. Needless to say, all the focus will be on the underfire wicket-keeper batsman. And, it’s not just the middling numbers, it is the manner in which he has been getting out. Yes! You can argue the shot was ‘on’ in the last T20I and that execution was the only problem. India could do well be swapping Pant with Iyer, something which will allow the southpaw to bat freely at the death.

David Miller (South Africa)

After an underwhelming World Cup, David Miller’s poor form continued in Mohali. The middle-order batsman scored a painstaking 15-ball-18 and was unable to provide the much-needed acceleration for his side. With Bengaluru being a safe heaven for batsmen, there can perhaps be no better venue for Killer Miller to strike again.

Head to Head

Overall

Matches – 15 | India won – 9 | South Africa won – 5 | N/R- 1

In India

Matches – 4| India won – 1 | South Africa won – 2 | N/R- 1

Stat Attack

4– Runs Shikhar Dhawan needs to complete 7,000 Twenty20 runs.

3– Junior Dala has got the better of Rohit Sharma on all the three occasions that he has locked heads with the Indian vice-captain

1st– If India wins in Bengaluru it will their first-ever T20I series win at home against the Proteas.

Broadcast Details

TV– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 19:00 IST; 13:30 GMT

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