After a long hiatus, the Men in Blue are back at home and will take on South Africa in a T20 and test series. First up is the T20 series, with the first match being played at the picturesque ground of Dharamshala. It is bound to be an entertaining clash as two explosives teams meet in the shortest format of the game.
The countdown to the 2020 T20 World Cup begins here. The Proteas have a new captain at the helm in the form of Quinton de Kock, whereas India would be led by Virat Kohli.
For South Africa, this will be their first encounter since their shambolic World Cup. The South Africa squad is relatively inexperienced and only a few of them have ever toured India before. They will be underdogs in this series and will be looking to make an upset or two.
India are looking to bring in a fresh perspective to their T20 outlook. The shortest format of the game is a completely different ball game and requires a different kind of skill set. The next ICC 50-over tournament is in 2023, so our focus should be on the T20s.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Hardik Pandya, Rishab Pant (WK), Krunal Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen (vc), Temba Bavuma, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Junior Dala/Anrich Nortje, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Rohit Sharma vs Kagiso Rabada
‘The Hitman’, as he is known, is a different beast in white-ball cricket. The Mumbai Indians captain has scored the most runs in T20 internationals. He has scored four centuries as well which is the most in T20 Internationals. Also, he is ranked ninth in the ICC T20 batsmen ranking.
The onus of getting him out early would be on Kagiso Rabada. He is South Africa’s most potent weapon and after a disappointing World Cup, would be looking to make amends.
In the 19 T20 internationals that he has played, he has taken 25 wickets at a meagre economy of 8.32. He performed admirably well in IPL 2019 too. Rabada took 25 wickets and took his team to the Qualifiers for the first time in seven years.
They will be up against each other at the start of the inning. Rabada will be looking to knock him out early to dent India’s chances of a big total. Whereas, Rohit would be up for the challenge and will be looking to hit Rabada out of the attack.
Navdeep Saini vs Quinton de Kock
Saini made his long awaited India debut in the recently concluded T20 series against West Indies. He showed his prowess by picking the man-of-the-match award for his figures of 3/17. The pace and bounce he generated proved very effective in the three matches he played.
In the absence of Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock is South Africa’s most experienced batsman. He is an explosive opener who evoke comparisons with a certain Adam Gilchrist.
De Kock is being touted as a future captain of South Africa as he possesses a good cricketing brain. In the 36 T20I he has played, de Kock has scored 887 runs at a strike rate of 127.08.
If Saini manages to get rid of Proteas captain early, India would feel like they have won half the match. Whereas, de Kock will be looking to lead from the front and give his team an explosive start for his middle order to capitalise. It will be interesting to see how Saini deals with one of the best batsman going around.
The match will be played at HPCA stadium, Dharamshala. The pitch has good pace and bounce and the ball comes nicely onto the bat. South Africa chased down 200 in the last T20I they played here which shows how good the track is for batting.
South Africa lack experience in its batting department. Whereas, India’s batting firepower is too hot to handle for this South Africa attack. India would feel confident of scoring big when they bat first and chase down any total comfortably.
We at CricWizz predict an easy victory for the Men in Blue courtesy of a far more experienced batting lineup.