Virat Kohli & Boys Look to Seal Deal With T20I Win

Maiden BCCI

India have been a completely different outfit since collecting the historic Test win in Johannesburg.

From there on, they have clinched their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa, trouncing the hosts in as emphatic a manner as can be. If one thought that the T20Is would see a more casual approach at the end of an exhausting tour, India retained the core to land the first punch on a depleted South Africa, who have rested their mainstays ahead of their arduous assignment against Australia.

Although a few of the minds have already switched off and put themselves on the flight back home, there’s still a lot of confidence and points to be earned for the likes of a returning Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni. Raina’s intentions weren’t diluted when he stepped out to bat and he will look to continue in the same vein to make himself comfortable in the environs he hasn’t been a part of 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. Dhoni though demands a deeper case study as he continued to have troubles in hitting the top gear immediately on arrival. His promotion ahead of Hardik Pandya can be seen in two lights – belief and overestimation – and the man himself will look to make the first one count.

South Africa are without two of their main weapons, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and that showed in their loss in the series opener. However, that also provides opportunities galore to the likes of JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks and the likes of established players like JP Duminy – who might soon run out of favour if his indifferent form continues. Hendricks jumped to the hosts’ rescue with a belligerent 70 at the top, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s timely strikes in his five-fer ensured all of Hendricks’s good work was negated. It was Bhuvneshwar’s return spell during which he removed Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen that knocked the wind out of their chase.

The second T20I will present India with an opportunity to win the series while the hosts would try and stop that, by all means, to keep the tour alive till the last game.

When: South Africa vs India, 2nd T20I, February 21, 6 PM Local, 9.30 PM IST

Where: SuperSport Park, Centurion

What to expect: There’s a high chance of precipitation ranging up to 90 percent with thunderstorms expected as well.

Team News:

India won’t mind promoting Suresh Raina up the order again and giving him the best possible chance to make it count. Manish Pandey, who is quickly slipping down the pecking order for the No.4 rights in ODIs would be desperate to pull off something special.

Squad: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur

South Africa don’t have many options to play around with and will seek the best out of the stocks they went into the field with for the first game.

Squad: 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, Aaron Phangiso, Christiaan Jonker

What they said:

“As players and as senior batters we have to take responsibility for that, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror, ask how we can improve and get better. Hopefully that improves come Wednesday” – JP Duminy.

“If you look at the one-day series and now, yes they’ve been vulnerable but South Africa are not that kind of team. It happens to any team in the world when things don’t go your way or plans don’t fall in place but that doesn’t mean they’re a weak team or they’re not a good team” – Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Did you know?

  • 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 from five innings, David Miller 80 from four, Farhan Behardein 67 from three and JP Duminy 38 from three.


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