After securing a comprehensive seven-wicket win over South Africa in the second T20I, India would look to replicate their all-round show and clinch the series as the action shifts from Mohali to Bengaluru. Skipper Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 72, while seamer Deepak Chahar was clinical with the new ball, as the Proteas were outplayed in both the departments of the game.
Despite displaying a positive approach in the previous encounter, the team management would still be worried about Rishabh Pant’s form. The young wicketkeeper-batsman, who is currently India’s no 1 choice in the absence of MS Dhoni, has been marred with criticism for his poor shot selection.
It seems that Pant has not learned a lot from his previous mistakes, as the 21-year-old was sent back to the pavilion on 4 by Bjorn Fortuin on a loose delivery. The wicketkeeper-batsman once again fell prey to his batting indiscipline as he sliced the ball straight to Tabraiz Shamsi, regardless of having all the time to execute a better shot. However, Pant’s departure didn’t cause India any harm as the Men in Blue were in a commanding position, thanks to Kohli’s firmness at the other end.
Pant has so far featured in 11 Tests, 12 ODIs and 19 T20Is and it is expected that the young wicketkeeper-batsman reads the situation well and doesn’t falter to careless shots. And now with the T20I World Cup approaching, the inconsistency shown by Pant has forced the team management to think of other alternatives.
In an exclusive interaction with The Indian Express, chief selector MSK Prasad said, “We are monitoring the workload of Rishabh. Of course, we have been grooming backups across all formats. We have the young KS Bharath doing well in the longer format for India A. We also have Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson doing well in the shorter formats for India ‘A’ and domestic cricket.”
“I have already said that post World Cup we have been concentrating on the progress of Rishabh. We need to be patient with him, considering the immense talent that he possesses,” the chief selector added.
However, with no other regular wicketkeeper in the squad apart from part-timer KL Rahul, it is obvious that Pant will be a part of the playing XI in the third and final encounter on Sunday.
Ahead of the 1st T20I in Dharamshala, the skipper made it very clear that the Men In Blue will test their batting depth in the limited-over series against South Africa. He backed up his decision by saying that teams around the globe are “batting till 9 and 10, then why can’t we”, and also asserting that all the decisions will be made to “ensure that the team has the strongest balance.”
Therefore, India entered the previous contest with only two regular seamers, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini, while the duo was supported by all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya. Though Saini was not very effective as he gave away 34 runs in his four-overs quota, it is unlikely that he will be dropped from the playing XI given his splendid outing in the Caribbean.
South Africa, on the other hand, would hope for rejuvenation from the likes of Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, and David Miller. The trio failed to live up to the hype as the Proteas only managed 149/5 on the board, twenty-thirty runs short from what could have been a competitive total. The team also lacked effectiveness in the bowling department as the Indians continued to fetch runs easily, chasing down the target comfortably with one over to spare.
Weather and Pitch report:
As per Accuweather, a downpour is expected on Sunday with overcast clouds mongering over the city throughout the day.
Home to Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Chinnaswamy Stadium has witnessed some really exciting contests. The wicket has always been a batting paradise and with shorter boundaries as compared to Mohali, a high scoring contest is likely on the cards.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain), Rassie van der Dussen (vice-captain), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde
The match starts at 7:00 pm.