Trailing the five-match home series 2-0, the third T20I clash against South Africa at Dr Y.S.R. ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday will be a do-or-die match for the Men in Blue.
India have not clicked as a complete unit in both the matches so far. While it was bowling that cost them the first and second match in the final ten overs, the batting line-up also failed to replicate their success of the first match. Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad will have to find form. It is important that he finds form for sake of his team and his spot on the side as well. Ishan Kishan has been great in both matches and will look forward to continue his momentum in the third game.
Captain and vice-captain Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya will have to lead from the front and display their attacking intent while batting as they did in the first game. The ‘finisher’ Dinesh Karthik will also have to fire from the get-go so as to take his team to a great score and also seal his spot in the team.
As far as bowling is concerned, pace bowling improved drastically in the second T20I. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was absolutely magical in the powerplay and will have to replicate his heroics to provide early momentum to his team. Avesh Khan though wicketless was economical. Harshal Patel was also economical and got a key wicket of Heinrich Klaasen in the second match. The pace attack will have to be economical with the ball and also take regular wickets for their side. Hardik Pandya will also be looking forward to getting wickets while contributing with the bat.
Spinners will have to step up for India. Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal were extremely expensive. Chahal had an economy rate of 12 while Axar had an economy rate of 10 in the first match. These figures did not improve in the second match either, as Chahal had an economy rate of 12.20 while Axar had a rate of 19.00 after a solitary over. They will have to help their side get key wickets in the middle overs and help the team sustain the early powerplay momentum. It is also important that the death bowling attack gets a chance to showcase their best skill set to the fullest.
On the other hand, South Africa is on a roll. They have not lost a game against Men in Blue in any format this year and would look forward to continuing that. It will also be in the mind for Proteas to continue their good run in India by winning another series. South Africa’s batting will have to find ways to deal with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who can be absolutely deadly in the powerplay. If Quinton De Kock’s injury turns out to be serious, it would be difficult for SA to carry on without their key batter in powerplay.
Captain Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks will have to step up and make more vital contributions, though Bavuma had a great partnership with Heinrich Klaasen in the second match. Klaasen will also be looking forward to making most of the chances he gets in absence of the team’s primary wicketkeeper, both with the gloves and willow. David Miller and Rassie Van Der Dussen will also have to score as they did in first game.
The pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Anrich Nortje will be looking forward to breathing fire in the third match again and shackle India’s run flow with their pace. Spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabrez Shamsi showed improvements in the second match and will be looking forward to keep things this way in the third tie to help Proteas clinch the series.
India’s T20I squad: Rishabh Pant (Captain) (wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik
South Africa’s squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen.