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South Africa vs India, 1st T20I – Match Predictions

It will be advantage India once again heading into the T20I series.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane of India
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane of India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After thumping South Africa 5-1 in the ODIs, the Men in Blue are ready to showcase their skills in the shortest format of the game as well. They will take on the Proteas at the New Wanderers Stadium, Jo’burg tomorrow in the first of the 3-match T20I series.

Twenty20 is the only format of the game at the moment in which Team India is not holding the top spot in the ICC rankings and that’s because they have been a bit inconsistent of late. They however would be keen to set it right in this series and be as clinical as they were in the 50-over games.

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Pitch and Conditions

The altitude at the Wanderers is a massive factor. Since the ground is situated really high above the sea level, the density of the air is much thinner which allows the ball to cover some extra distance. So the shots which won’t necessarily travel over the fence under the normal conditions go for six easily here because of the altitude.

The pitch also is pretty flat with true bounce and even pace and to go with that, the dimensions of the boundaries are not the biggest either. All in all, it’s a bowler’s graveyard in white ball cricket and posting a score and defending it later at this venue is close to impossible. There is no way a captain winning the toss will choose to bat first.

Playing Combination

South Africa

The squad that South Africa have announced for the T20s is pretty inexperienced. Yes there are a couple of seasoned campaigners in the form of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy who will be captaining the side as well, but most of the players are lacking abundant international experience and it will be a huge test for them facing the mighty Indian side which already has been severely dominant on the tour.

Dane Paterson will be the spearhead of the bowling attack in the absence of Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel, while Aaron Phangiso will be the first choice spinner. Talking about batting, it will be interesting to see where they place AB de Villiers. They have opened with him at times in T20 cricket, but pushing him right at the top of the order will mean the middle order will be weakened and once India open it up with the new ball, they will be on the driver’s seat. So South Africa are likely to keep ABD at 4 and probably will open with the wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen and Jon-Jon Smuts.

Predicted XI: Jon-Jon Smuts, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), JP Duminy (C), AB de Villiers, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso

India

India have had some new players joining the squad for the T20 series and one of the bigger names out of that is Suresh Raina. The left-hander has forced his way back into the squad with some powerful performances in the domestic circuit and will be looking to prove his worth for India again in limited-overs cricket. The fact that he provides the 6th bowling option as well means it will be difficult to leave him out.

If Raina is in the XI, he will play the role of the finisher along with Hardik Pandya. That will allow the team management to push MS Dhoni slightly up the order, most likely to 4 which is an ideal batting position for the veteran in the T20 format as it gives him that bit of extra time to play himself in before going big.

Also, Manish Pandey might be slotted in at 5 as he is someone who is suited for the lower middle order. He has a combination of touch and power in his game and not only can he manipulate the field in the death overs, he can deposit them into the stands as well.

Bowling wise, India won’t try anything funky in the first game of the series. So the regular quartret of Bumrah, Bhuvi, Chahal and Kuldeep will take the field.

Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), MS Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Here is what we at CricTracker predict for the game:

Probable Top Performers

Dane Paterson (South Africa) | MS Dhoni (India)

Head to Head

Total games played – 10| South Africa won – 4| India won – 6| N/R – 0

Timing of the match: 06:00 pm IST, 12:30 am GMT, 02:30 pm Local Time

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony Ten 1 (English Commentary), Sony Ten 3 (Hindi Commentary)

Live streaming – SonyLIV

The prediction is for India to beat South Africa in this match and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

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