Virat Kohli will be wanting his side to carry on the confidence earned in the ODI series win when they take on a wounded South Africa in the first of the three T20Is starting on Sunday.
India thrashed South Africa 5-1 in the six-match ODI series and are now set for their final battle in their last lap of the tour to the rainbow nation. Run-machine Kohli has been in prime form and will want his team not to lose any focus. The side is either wise known for not to take anything lightly no matter what the situation and one can expect India to be on top gear.
The hapless hosts will be led by senior pro JP Duminy, in Faf du Plessis’ absence, who has been ruled out due to injury. India have the chance to better their T20I rankings and could go above New Zealand into the second place.
ICC T20I RANKINGS (TOP 3)
- Pakistan – 126 points
- New Zealand – 122 points
- India – 121 points
The format is such that both sides will be knowing that they could have a chance in gaining impetus. India have won their last two T20I series at home against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, South Africa lost to England before winning against Bangladesh in their previous two T20I series.
Team news and selection
The visitors are bolstered by the return of veteran middle-order southpaw Suresh Raina in the side. Raina will be hoping to get game time after blasting his way into the squad after showing a lot of character in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. With MS Dhoni there in the middle order, the experience of both Raina and the former will be handy for India.
WATCH: Raina’s preparations
How's that for a @ImRaina flourish! #TeamIndia #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/O0KJR4ldww
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 17, 2018
KL Rahul is expected to open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma and the duo will be hoping to get the team off to a good start. With Virat in top form after amassing 558 runs in six ODIs he will once again don the responsibility of causing the most menace for South Africa.
The likes of Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey provide valuable depth and with the duo not getting games in the ODIs, it will be a solid opportunity for them to get some vital runs.
The bowling line-up which already caused the South African batsmen the most troubles across the tour and the twin spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will once again be the thorn for the hosts. In the pace department it will be interesting to see whether there is an inclusion of IPL’s most expensive player Jaydev Unadkat.
Duminy has been handed the responsibility of leading a relatively inexperienced Proteas side which includes the likes of uncapped Christiaan Jonker, Reeza Hendricks, Dane Paterson and Junior Dala.
The likes of experienced Hashim Amla has been rested and so is ODI skipper Aiden Markram especially with the upcoming home series against Australia in mind. With Quinton de Kock and Faf already ruled out, the likes of AB de Villiers, David Miller and Farhaan Behardien will hope to provide depth in the batting.
South Africa looks to be short in bowling as they will be without the services of Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir. Therefore the new-look line-up will be immensely tested.
Pitch and conditions
The Wanderers pitch could be another batsman-friendly one with a supreme fast outfield. So one can expect both sides enjoy a high-scoring thriller. Afternoon thundershowers are forecasted but should be but it unlikely to affect the tie much.
South Africa squad: JP Duminy (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts
India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wkt), Dinesh Karthik (wkt), Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat
Match time: 6:00 pm