India just came to the end of a tightly contested but easily won T20I series against Australia, in which they emerged victorious by a 4-1 scoreline. They now travel to South Africa to play them in a whole T20 series.
They take the hosts on in the first match at Kingsmead in Durban and will want to impose themselves on the series. This young Indian side is renowned for pushing the barriers and ensuring their opponents get taken to the cleaners.
The South Africans, however, have selected a young side, too. It will be very interesting to see how the two teams combat each other. The Indians are known for using the resources they have to the best of their ability and owing to the quality of the players. This is why they can push South Africa out of their comfort zone.
The home team will rely upon their fast bowlers in this game, given that the surface in Durban will assist seam bowling. India, boosted by the memory of Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over against Stuart Broad in the 2007 World T20 at the same venue, will want to go back with good memories.
South Africa, to be sure, will aim to prevent that from happening. However, there is no denying how strong the Indians have become of late in this format of the game.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan (wk), Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (c), Rinku Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh.
South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Tristan Stubbs, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Gerald Coetzee.
Tilak Varma: Hyderabad’s Tilak Varma is undoubtedly one of the players to watch out for in the T20 side. Tilak has acquitted himself well after being called up to the national team, and the half-century against the West Indies on debut marks my point. He will definitely be keen on performing well in South Africa.
Heinrich Klaasen: Wicket-keeper batter Heinrich Klaasen, who is known to be a master chaser, did not come out and do the job well in the World Cup. However, he will be keen on making sure that this deficiency is rectified soon and the Indian bowlers should prove to be good cannon fodder. Klaasen is one of the most explosive South African batters.
India, despite playing away from home, are the favourites to win this game. South Africa will not expect them to come to terms with the fast-paced pitches, but with the advent of the IPL and constant exposure tours across the world, the visiting side have adapted rather well to all surfaces. Led by Suryakumar Yadav, India are a big threat to the Proteas in this game.