IND vs SA 2022-23, Indore T20I: Kohli, Rahul rested; India ponders on death bowling woes
India has already sealed the three-T20I series with an unassailable 2-0 lead, with the final Indore T20I on Tuesday. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have been rested, while the hosts would ponder on death bowling.
It may be an inconsequential game on paper. Still, Indian bowlers await another tough test against South Africa ahead of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup when the two teams meet in the third and final match of the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Tuesday. Having sealed its first-ever series against South Africa at home, Indian team management has decided to rest its premier batter Virat Kohli and vice-captain KL Rahul for the final game.
It is expected that standby batter Shreyas Iyer will replace Kohli in the final game in the XI. With Rahul also rested, Suryakumar Yadav or Rishabh Pant will open alongside skipper Rohit Sharma. With no second reserve batter in the squad, Shahbaz Ahmed or one among Mohammed Siraj or Umesh Yadav could get a look-in.
Since their early exit from the T20 World Cup 12 months ago, the Indian batting has come a long way and looks formidable ahead of the next edition beginning later this month. Most batters remain the same from the UAE edition, but the drastic change in approach has made the difference.
Heading into the ICC event, India's high-profile top three have hit top form, including Rahul, who eased concerns about his strike rate with a sublime effort on Sunday. Kohli has batted a 140-plus strike rate since the Asia Cup, including three 50s and a much-awaited hundred. Skipper Rohit has come up with impactful innings throughout the six games at home against Australia and South Africa.
Number four Suryakumar Yadav is in a league of his own and seems to be batting at a much higher level than his teammates, so much so that Rohit is contemplating playing him straight in the team's T20WC opener against Pakistan on October 23. Pant is yet to bat in the series, and though Dinesh Karthik got seven balls in the second T20, he too would be hoping to get a hit in the middle.
Jasprit Bumrah's absence has compounded India's bowling woes, especially in the death overs, but the team needs to find a way if the star pacer doesn't get fit in time for the ICC event. Deepak Chahar, among T20WC reserves, has been impressive with the new ball but question marks remain over his efficacy towards the back end of the innings.
Arshdeep Singh has impacted with new and old ball but was unusually expensive on Sunday. Having bowled as many as three no-balls, it was a forgettable night for the left-arm pacer who would be eager to bounce back. The variations Harshal Patel relies on to keep the batters in check have not produced the desired results since his injury.
Red ball great Ravichandran Ashwin is yet to get a wicket in the series, and India will be looking to him for wickets in the middle overs. Drafted into the squad in Bumrah's absence, Siraj could also get to play at Holkar Stadium, but India might continue with the out-of-rhythm Harshal Patel as he would need more game time post-injury.
In the extreme humidity of Guwahati, the South African pacers struggled to grip the ball and ended up offering far many full tosses to the Indian batters. They would want to rectify that. Despite the series loss, there has been plenty of positives for the visitors in the batting department. Continuing his menacing form this year, David Miller smashed an unbeaten hundred while Quinton de Kock got much-needed runs before the World Cup. The biggest concern for the Proteas is the form of their skipper Temba Bavuma, who is yet to score a run in the series.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Umesh Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Shahbaz Ahmed and Mohammad Siraj.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs (wk).
Date and day: October 4, 2022 (Tuesday)
Venue: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore
Time: 7.00 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 Hindi & Sports Select (Also available in HD)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar
(With inputs from PTI)