Live Streaming Of IND Vs Sa Down Below 👇👇👇
India have finally entered the final bend of their long endless tour. Usually that’s cue for home-sickness, counting down the days and a general bit of going through the motions. But there was a surprise spring in the players’ steps on a Saturday morning that had little to do with the miracle powers of coffee and more with their recent turnaround in on-field fortunes. Virat Kohli’s calls to “embrace the South African challenges” hadn’t fallen on deaf ears and the tourists could thus bounce back from a gruelling Test series win to take the ODI leg by an emphatic 5-1 scoreline.
And so the teams move on to a little bout of T20 jostling, so that the game’s stakeholders earn the dividends from the sport even if it lends itself into a more relentless schedule for the teams. The three-match 20-overs-a-side bonanza will begin at the Wanderers and go to Centurion again before culminating where it all started, in Cape Town. All in a space of six days.
Yet this leg brings a palpable sense of relief. Both teams have little to nothing riding on the eventual outcome and could thus afford to test their wingspan a bit. The hosts have Australia around the corner and have rightfully rested their big boys while India have offered an entry to one of their old-timers to push for a comeback.
The spotlight will hover on Raina for a reason. After playing the consummate team-man to perfection for several years, the Uttar Pradesh batsman endured a rapid decline in form and fitness post the home ODIs against South Africa in 2015. Having voiced his intention to contend for a place in next year’s World Cup squad, Raina will hope to make most of his chances here. Not only does he add variety to a right-heavy line-up, he can bowl, field and ideally replace Kedar Jadhav’s No.5 slot in the ODIs, should the Maharashtra man slip up.
Meanwhile, Duminy, a player with very similar attributes to Raina, faces an uncertain future himself in the ODI setup if South Africa continue to put their weight behind Aiden Markram when the others return. There’ll be more than just brownie points up for grabs if he can demonstrate strong leadership qualities in a youthful-looking South African squad.
When: South Africa vs India, 1st T20I, February 18, 14:30 Local, 18:00 IST
Where: The Wanderers, Johannesburg
What to expect: The iconic Wanderers has taken a little knock during this India series. After the pitch fiasco during the Tests, the ODI game nearly ran the trouble of a full washout because of an outfield that took long to dry after a thunderstorm. There is a forecast for rain late on Sunday evening, but the game’s afternoon start will help avoid that threat. The pitch for the ODI had pace, bounce and assisted strokeplay, a characteristic it should retain for the T20.
Team News India:
KL Rahul has flown all the way back after flying out at the end of the Tests but any attempts towards batting redemption will have to come at the cost of a rest for one of Rohit or Dhawan at the top. The likes of Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik have not got game time in the series so far and could vie for one batting slot if Raina is slotted straight into the XI. There is much speculation about MS Dhoni’s effectiveness in the shortest format and given his struggles to get out of the blocks running in the ODIs, the team management will want to assess his future in this format more closely given they still have some time to build for the next T20 WC. Jaydev Unadkat, one of the stars of the most recent IPL and IPL auction, could offer rest to one of Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Jasprit Bumrah.
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni(wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Lokesh Rahul, Jaydev Unadkat, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur
By his lofty standards, AB de Villiers had a quiet series after returning from a finger injury. A little more freedom could liberate him in this format. Then there’s Farhan Behardien, who many believed was unlucky to not get more than a solitary game in the ODIs, who will have a point to prove.
Squad: Reeza Hendricks, JJ Smuts, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy(c), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen(wk), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien, Christiaan Jonker, Tabraiz Shamsi