India will play South Africa in their third and final T20I match at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Wednesday, October 5th. The match is scheduled to begin at 5 pm local time.
With the team set to depart for Australia for the World Cup on October 6th, this is one last chance to put on a show for the home fans ahead of the main event.
With the series already won, the pressure is off the home side to a certain extent, but they will not want to get on the plane with a defeat under their belt.
South Africa, for their part, will be looking for a consolation win. Well-beaten in the first match in Thiruvananthapuram, they responded well to the challenge of chasing a record score in the second in Guwahati. They fell short in the end by 17 runs, but Quinton de Kock and especially David Miller, who struck an unbeaten century, can still take a lot of credit for their efforts.
India expected to make changes
With the series already won, India can be expected to make some changes to the starting line-up, both to give fringe players some game time and also to allow key personnel to rest. Suryakumar Yadav has nothing to prove after his recent heroics, and he is likely to be given the evening off, with Shreyas Iyer deputising.
Yuzvendra Chahal could also come in for Axar Patel. There is additionally the option of playing Mohammad Siraj who has been drafted in as a replacement for the injured Jasprit Bumrah. With still considerable uncertainty over Bumrah’s participation in the World Cup, this might be Siraj’s final chance to audition for his spot if he is unfit.
There may also be a consideration to changing the batting line-up. One unresolved issue is whether Rishabh Pant makes the starting XI for their first World Cup match against Pakistan on October 23rd in Sydney.
Such has been the form with the bat in this series of Yadav and Virat Kohli, he has had no chance to show what he can do at the crease. This could be an opportunity.
Bavuma place in jeopardy
It has been a very bad few months for South Africa’s white ball captain Temba Bavuma.
First he missed the South African tour of England due to an elbow injury, with Keshav Maharaj deputising for him. Then he went unsold in the recent player auction for the inaugural SA20 competition.
And now his World Cup place is in serious jeopardy after two failures on this tour.
He was out for a four-ball duck in the first match and, although he lasted three more balls in Guwahati, he again failed to get off the mark. Another failure in Indore and it will be hard to justify his place in the team, especially with players like Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen ready in reserve.
South Africa have bowling issues
Apart from the form of Bavuma, South Africa also seem to have bowling issues ahead of the World Cup, given that their attack took just five wickets between them across the two matches. One man who appears especially under threat is Anrich Nortje, who, despite bowling with some serious pace, is struggling for rhythm at the moment.
The pitch in Indore is another excellent batting track, so another high-scoring encounter could be on the cards, although the spinners may get some help as the surface wears. Traditionally the team that wins the toss chooses to bat first on this ground.
The weather forecast is expected to be warm and clear, with almost no chance of rain. A full evening’s player can be expected.
Even if India don’t play their strongest team, they can still be expected to win. Whilst, surprisingly, this has been the first time they have won a home T20I series against South Africa, they have been good value for it, and another win would underline their superiority. And with the teams also drawn against each other in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup, it would lay down a psychological marker ahead of that.
And it would also mean that the team can board the plane for Australia in great heart, having won five on the bounce, and with series wins against both Australia and South Africa under their belts.
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