The first T20 match between India and South Africa in Dharamsala was washed out. This effectively turns the 3-match India vs South Africa T20 series into a 2-match series. Chandigarh and Bengaluru are the two venues hosting the games, with both teams coming into this series in contrasting moods. India just whitewashed West Indies in all three formats in the Caribbean, while South Africa is struggling with their biggest transition in international cricket since their return in the early 90s. With the retirement of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, it’s been a hard 2019 for a team not used to being the underdogs. Young Quinton de Kock is the new captain of the T20 squad, while Kohli is leading the hosts.
Here are five players – other than the obvious names – across both teams you should watch out for in the India vs South Africa T20 Series:
KRUNAL PANDYA (IND)
The older Pandya brother has finally found a way into the Indian team after impressing for multiple seasons for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Krunal is a handy all-rounder in the format, and along with young Washinton Sundar, has displaced the spin-twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as first-choice spinners for this format. Pandya is also an important left-handed batsman in the middle order, and he will be tested in this series, given that this is one of the few series left before the World T20 in Australia next year. Will he seal his place?
SHREYAS IYER (IND)
Shreyas finally put an end to the no. 4 debate for India in ODI cricket after impressing everyone in the Caribbean with his performances. But the Delhi Capitals captain still has to prove himself for India in the shortest format – he will again bat at 4, and it will be a direct toss-up between him and Manish Pandey for this spot. It will be competitive, but now is the time, in home conditions, for Iyer to finally come of age and make good on the promise he has been showing in IPL cricket for a while.
RISHABH PANT (IND)
The young wicketkeeper-batsman has been at the center of all Dhoni debates in the last few months, especially given that the senior statesman is on a break from cricket. Pant has not impressed in blue at all – his shot selection was even criticized by coach Ravi Shastri after the West Indies tour. This will be his stage, and with players like Sanju Samson and Dinesh Karthik still in competition for the keeper slot, Pant has all the pressure on him. Maybe a promotion up to no. 4 might help, maybe a rush of blood won’t.
RASSIE VAN DER DUSSEN (SA)
South Africa’s new no. 4 has had a promising start to his (late) career. The 30-year-old batsman has seven fifties in his first 13 ODI innings, and has a strike-rate of 133 in 7 T20s so far. He is the key to the absolutely unknown and untested South African middle order (David Miller is the only familiar name retained) after the post-World-Cup shakeup that has filtered the team down to a young outfit. There’s no reason why he can’t further his reputation against an Indian team that has a bunch of young bowlers looking to prove themselves at the top level.
TEMBA BAVUMA (SA)
The 29-year-old has played 36 Test matches for his country, but is only 2 ODIs old and is yet to play an international T20 match. He is a shock selection in the squad, but seems to have been picked to lend stability to an inexperienced top order. Bavuma can do what Amla was doing, and in the process establish himself as an unlikely T20 no. 3 in the run-up to next year’s World Cup. His stop-and-start career finally has a clear road in front, and the lack of pressure will help.
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