Virat Kohli will be wanting his side to finish the business and seal the T20I series when they take on a wounded South Africa in the second of the three T20Is at the Centurion on Wednesday.
After thrashing South Africa 5-1 in the six-match ODI series, India won the first T20I by an emphatic 28 runs as they look to continue their fine form in the rainbow nation. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s five-for and Shikhar Dhawan’s impressive 72 runs helped the side muster victory in the first T20I, and now they will be wanting to build on that performance.
Meanwhile, problems are aplenty for South African skipper JP Duminy, who needs to address his team’s form alongside his own to have a real crack at the Indians.
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A clean sweep in the T20Is could help India climb up the ICC T20I Rankings and take up second spot behind Pakistan. However, if Australia beat New Zealand in the T20 tri-series’ final (on Wednesday as well), India would stay on in their current third position.
ICC T20I RANKINGS (TOP 3)
- Pakistan – 126 points
- New Zealand – 122 points
- India – 121 points
Team news and selection
All eyes will be on comeback man Suresh Raina, who had 15-run blitz in the first encounter. The veteran southpaw at No. 3 knows this match would be crucial for him to get some runs under his belt. Rohit Sharma too will be looking to liven up the stage alongside in-form partner Shikhar Dhawan. With Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya in the lower middle order, India look settled.
In the first match, Jaidev Unadkat was given a chance mainly owing to the batting friendliness nature. With Centurion pitch expected to be slower, left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav may be brought in. Bhuvi and Jasprit Bumrah then will be the only two frontline pacers.
Duminy will need to step up the plate and deliver with the bat for his side. Besides him senior teammate David Miller too needs to get vital runs and give South Africa stability in the middle-order.
Reeza Hendricks (70) played a valiant knock in the first match and that in turn will give him a lot of confidence. With AB de Villiers ruled out for the remainder of the series, the duo along with Farhaan Behardien will hope to provide depth in the batting.
Christiaan Jonker could get a look in to add more depth in the batting and also there are reports stating Aaron Phangiso might come in for spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Pitch and conditions
The Centurion pitch is expected to be a slow turner and it is likely to play out in the same manner. Indians will go into the tie as favourites with their wrist spin duo. Afternoon thundershowers are forecasted and it could delay the start of the match to an extent.
Match time: 9:30 pm