IND vs SA 2022-23, Thiruvananthapuram T20I: Death bowling remains India's most significant concern
India will be locking horns with South Africa in the opening Thiruvananthapuram T20I on Wednesday. While India looks to draw first blood right away, it would be concerned about its death-bowling woes.
India would aim to round off its ICC T20 World Cup 2022 preparation with a noteworthy advancement in its death bowling. Also, it would look to provide necessary game time to its untested players in the three-game Twenty20 International (T20I) series against South Africa, starting at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma singled out death bowling as the primary area that demands headway after the narrow 2-1 T20I series win against Australia. The hosts would also be without a couple of crucial bowlers, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who are resting ahead of the global competition in Australia next month.
Seamer Mohammad Shami, one of the T20WC stand-bys, has not fully recovered from COVID-19 and will miss out on the three matches against the Proteas. At the same time, he was also unavailable against Australia. Pacer Harshal Patel struggled with his comeback against Australia, but he expects to be back to his best in the final three matches before flying to Australia. He has a T20I career economy of 9.05 but has conceded over 12 runs per over versus the Aussies.
Pacer Deepak Chahar, another standby for the T20WC, failed to get a match in the earlier series, and he might get it if the team decides on rotating its pacers over the three contests. Pacer Arshdeep Singh returns to bolster the side's aids, especially in the slog overs, as he would make an effective combination alongside pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is looking to retrieve his whole beat after making an injury comeback.
In the series decider versus Australia, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal exhibited what he can do if the ball grips and turns, as he looked flat in the opening couple of ties. Keeping the Australian conditions in mind, the shrewd leggie will look to raise his game on docile tracks. As Rohit talked about the essence of giving every player game time ahead of the T20WC, veteran all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin could get a chance.
In batting, wicketkeeper-opener KL Rahul would be desperate to make the most of these three plays, having missed out on scoring opportunities in the last couple of ties versus Australia. With former skipper and top-order batter Virat Kohli and opener Rohit looking in good touch, Rahul must remain in full flow before going Down Under.
Veteran wicketkeeper-finisher Dinesh Karthik played all eight deliveries versus the Australians, and Rohit has already expressed that the specified finisher needs more time out in the middle. T20WC-bound batter Deepak Hooda will miss the series before the mega event, having been ruled out with a back injury. Shreyas Iyer will likely take Hooda's spot in the squad.
Over the next week, India will compete against a team it has yet to beat at home in a bilateral T20I series. South Africa and India would also face off in a group clash in Australia. Though conditions are different here, both teams can pick out the areas to target in this series.
"The pitches in Australia will be different, and ground size will be a lot bigger, but as a bowler, there is always something you can work on. It is a great opportunity to be bowling at these Indian batters and pick up on a few things and use against them in the World Cup," said unorthodox Portea spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. The eyes would also be on the young wicketkeeper-batter Tristian Stubbs, making it to the World Cup crew, thanks to his excellent show in T20 leagues.
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 and Tristan Stubbs (wk).
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc & wk), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Date and day: September 28, 2022 (Wednesday)
Venue: Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
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