Watch Live IND vs SA South Africa vs India 3rd T20 Impelreport
For the six Indian players who featured in the opening Test against South Africa a month and a half back, the return to Cape Town for the final game of the series completes the circle. It has been a circular journey of several highs and lows, inspirational and mediocre performances, and fluctuating fortunes. When India set foot in South Africa just before the start of the new year, they had a point to prove – that their No. 1 Test ranking wasn’t a fleeting by-product of a string of successful outcomes in familiar conditions. While they went down in the opening two Tests and conceded the series, the Virat Kohli-led side did not only show enough honour in defeat but also penned a script for a remarkable comeback.
The victory on a spiteful Wanderers wicket kickstarted their resurgence and gave the team a new direction. Soon, the limited-overs specialists joined the Safari. The arrival of the wrist spinners, Virat Kohli’s stupendous run-scoring streak, coupled with a spate of injuries for the home team, helped India secure a resounding 5-1 victory in the ODIs and with that, the No. 1 ranking in the 50-over format. Their good run with the white ball continued into the opening T20I with their workhorse Bhuvneshwar Kumar starring in a comfortable victory for the visiting side. But just when things seemed uni-directional in the limited-overs format, an under-cooked South African T20I team showed they had enough fire-power to keep the series alive and they’ll aim to finish things off in the same fashion they started at Newlands, albeit without a single player who featured in the eleven of the first game of the series.
Despite the absence of big guns like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, South Africa came back strongly in their second outing after suffering a 28-run defeat in a chase of 204 in the opening T20I, by managing to reach a target of 189 with 1.1 overs to spare. Heinrich Klaasen, one of the architects of the home team’s victory in the second T20I, has grown from strength to strength in the series while JP Duminy brought all his experience into play to lead from the front. With batting becoming a lot easier in wet conditions, Klaasen ensured he capitalised and such was his effectiveness with the bat that Yuzvendra Chahal, one of the chief tormentors in the limited-overs leg, ended up conceding 64 runs – the most expensive figures by an Indian (who has completed his quota of four overs).
Among the bowlers, Junior Dala has been the most impressive of the lot, picking up fours wickets so far in his maiden international series for South Africa. He has ensured early wickets for South Africa in both the matches, putting pressure on the Indian middle order that has been under the spotlight for some time. Half-centuries from Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni in the previous game would have given India some confidence, as would have Suresh Raina’s promising show in the last match. But India would prefer some runs from the bat of Rohit Sharma, who barring a hundred in the fifth ODI, has had an average series in South Africa. India will be hoping that their limited-overs vice-captain, who has a penchant for big runs against the white ball, signs off in style.
When: South Africa vs India, 3rd T20I – Saturday, February 24 at 18:00 Local (21:30 IST)
Where: Newlands, Cape Town
South Africa: JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy(c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen(w), Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Christiaan Jonker, Aaron Phangiso
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur