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South Africa vs India, 1st T20I- India Predicted XI

The Indians are unlikely to change their combination from the ODIs into the T20 internationals,

Yuzvendra Chahal and Rohit Sharma of India
Yuzvendra Chahal and Rohit Sharma of India. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

India was comprehensively humbled by the Proteas in the Test series. However, Virat Kohli’s men stormed back to decimate the Proteas in the ODI series by a margin of 5-1. The victory also marked India’s maiden triumph in a bilateral series in the Rainbow nation. After the ODI series, India’s next assignment begins on Sunday when they meet South Africa for a T20 International series.

T20 cricket a different ballgame altogether and both teams will be straining every muscle to topple each other. India will be looking to get their combinations right ahead of the opening game at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. In our article, we take a look the Men in Blue’s probably playing XI for the game.

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Openers (Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan)

India is most likely to persist with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as the openers. Having faltered in quite a few games, Rohit’s form has been jittery in the recently concluded ODI series. However, his exploits in India’s erstwhile T20 series against Sri Lanka and his joint fastest century in the format confirms him a berth in the celebrated batting lineup.

Shikhar Dhawan had shown prime form during the ODI series against the Proteas. He hardly looked flustered against the might of the Proteas attack. The Delhi cricketer also emerged as the second highest run-scorer in the series. He didn’t play the T20I series against the Lankans, however, he is expected to play a pivotal role for India in the series which begins on Sunday.

Middle-order (KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk))

The middle order looks a solid unit overall with a blend of experience and youth. KL Rahul didn’t have an impressive outing in the Test series against the Proteas, however, his prowess with the willow in the T20 format can’t be undermined. He was stupendous against Sri Lanka and will look to replicate the same touch. Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, will be looking to demolish the Proteas in the T20 series as well.

Manish Pandey didn’t get a game during the ODI series, but he might return for the T20 series owing to his form in the format. He played some breezy knocks against Sri Lanka and will wish to replicate the same form against the Proteas. MS Dhoni has recently struggled with the willow, especially in the T20 format and experienced campaigner needs to step for India to string together another impressive show.

All-rounders (Hardik Pandya)

Hardik Pandya will enter the series as India’s sole all-round cricketer. The Baroda cricketer has underperformed with the willow in the recently concluded ODI willow. However, he churned out some crucial spells for India with the leather and impressed during the second-half of the series. He went wicket-less in the opening three games but picked up some vital wickets to push South Africa back.

Nevertheless, the all-rounder is yet to prove his worth in the T20 format. A batting average of 10 in international cricket doesn’t justify the skills of the swashbuckling cricketer. Even with the ball, he has only 23 wickets in 27 games to show for his efforts. The cricketer will be looking to make amends and deliver the goods for India in the upcoming series.

Bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah)

The bowling lineup is most likely to be retained from India’s previous assignment. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah tied down the Proteas with the new ball following which the spin-duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ripped them apart with their deceptive wrist-works.

Subsequently, the spinners churned out 33 wickets and emerged as the highest wicket-takers in the series. They were exceptional during the ODI series and it won’t spring a surprise if the bunch of vibrant cricketers strangles the Proteas even in the T20 affairs.

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