A spirited comeback by the Men in Blue ensured they sealed the 3-match T20I series against Australia, 2-0. In the process, they also went on to overtake England as the World no.1 in the shortest format.
They will now be challenged by the revamped South African side in a series that will comprise 3 T20I matches and the same number of 50-over contests. India are definitely ahead in terms of momentum but are India really prepared for the World Cup? This series is likely to answer all the questions.
The series is set to kick off at the Greenfield Stadium in Trivandrum, well the absence of Sanju Samson is definitely a setback for the fans but they would be eager to welcome the sport back to the state after a long break.
South Africa on the other hand will be headed by Temba Bavuma, who recently had a huge setback when he was not picked in the CSA T20 league and he will be hoping he can make the franchises regret it.
A huge series for both sides as both sides will be heading to Australia post this series. We are likely to witness a number of experiments as teams are still on the hunt to find the best Xl. Can India continue their winning momentum? Or will the proteas prove to be tough competitors?
Match Toss Time: 18:30 IST (13:00 GMT)
Match Start Time: 19:00 IST (13:30 GMT)
Match Venue: Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Head to Head
Matches played: 20, India: 11, South Africa: 8, N/R: 1
Last 5 meetings: IND: 2, RSA: 2, N/R: 1
Highest run-getter in this fixture: Rohit Sharma (362)
Highest wicket-taker in this fixture: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (14)
Weather conditions and pitch
For the home side, the superstar all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested keeping in mind the importance of the upcoming mega event. Veteran pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav also will not be part of this series, they are replaced by former Delhi Capitals’ skipper Shreyas Iyer and Hooda’s injury has forced the management to call upon all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmad.
South Africa have no injury concerns whatsoever, their key pacer Anrich Nortje has been in tremendous form since his comeback from the injury, and the onus will be on him to trouble the Indian batters.
Probable playing Xl
India (IND): KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma(C), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk)/Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal
South Africa (RSA): Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie Van der Dussen, Aiden Markam, Temba Bavuma(C), David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi
Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been in tremendous form and he is once again hungry for runs, he is likely to once again boost your line-up. South African wicket-keeper batter Quinton de Kock is another must-pick as he seldom fails to impress.
Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav and proteas all-rounder Aiden Markram are our two other must-picks for the 1st T20I between India and South Africa.
IND vs SA fantasy team
Captain and Vice-captain Picks
Considering India’s current form and the home conditions, the side looks in formidable. However, the last time around the sides locked horns there was very little to separate as they finished the 5-matches, 2-2 after the decider was washed out. The proteas will not go down without a fight but the current state of their skipper might take a toll on the side.
It is not going to be one-way traffic and we are in for a treat. However, considering the Indian batters are in a better position and if their bowlers pull up their socks, India will hold the edge going into the series.
Cricwizz predicts India to win the 1st T20I and lead the 3-match series, 1-0.
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