Team India is playing an aggressive brand of cricket since historic Test win in Johannesburg. Since then they have clinched their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa, by outplaying the hosts in an ecstatic manner. Even in the T20Is, they approach was pretty clear as they are not looking to leave any stone unturned.
With the return of Suresh Raina and Manish Pandey in the playing XI, some extra boost of confidence seems to have generated in the team. Raina’s intentions weren’t adulterated when he stepped out to bat and he looked pretty comfortable on the field despite not being a part of the team for long. Pandey wasn’t at his best, managing runs at just over run-a-ball and he too will have an opportunity to right the wrongs.
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South Africa are without two of their crucial cogs, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and that wrote the story of their loss in the series opener. However, that also provides opportunities for the youngsters like JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks to play under the captaincy of JP Duminy. Hendricks jumped to the hosts’ rescue with an aggressive 70 at the top, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s timely strikes in his maiden T20I five-fer ensured all of Hendricks’s good work was diluted. It was Bhuvneshwar’s second spell during which he removed Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen in one over that knocked the wind out of their chase.
The second T20I will present India with a chance to win the series while the hosts would try to save their pride and keep the series alive, by all means, to keep the tour alive till the last game.
Some stats to look out for:
- Teams batting first have won five of the six completed T20Is at Centurion Park. The average total batting first here is 186.
- South Africa have a 3-3 win-loss record at Centurion Park with three of those four losses coming in the last four matches.
- Virat Kohli needs 18 more runs to become the third player to hit 2000 runs in T20Is after Brendon McCullum (2140) and Martin Guptill (2250).
- No player has so far aggregated 100 runs in T20Is at Centurion Park so far from the six matches played there. Ab de Villiers has scored 86 runs in five innings, David Miller 80 from four, Farhan Behardein 67 from three and JP Duminy 38 from three.
Also read: STATs preview: SA vs Ind (2nd T20I)
India won’t mind promoting Raina up the order again and giving him the best possible chance to make the opportunity count. While Pandey, who is quickly slipping down the pecking order for the No.4 rights in ODIs would be desperate to pull off something special.
On the other hand, the Proteas don’t have many options to play around with and will try to get the best out of the players with whom they went into the field with for the first game.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa: JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.