India vs South Africa, 3rd T20I: India eye series win in Virat Kohli's happy hunting ground
Virat Kohli averages over 50 in all three formats of the game (AP Photo)
- Virat Kohli has scored 2753 runs at an average of 37.20 in 88 matches at M Chinnaswamy stadium
- 32.21 per cent of Kohli's overall runs in T20s have come in Bengaluru
- Both teams might look to go in with the same playing XIs in the final T20I
After starting their home season with a comprehensive 7-wicket victory in the second T20I match, Team India would now look to seal the series against South Africa as the two teams face off in Bengaluru for the final encounter on Sunday.
In a series which was reduced to a 2-match affair after the first T20I being washed out in Dharamsala, both the teams have been seeking for some answers with a larger picture in mind, that is the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
Virat Kohli returns to Bengaluru
Virat Kohli, who hit a masterclass 72 not out in the last match, has a tremendous record at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium as he leads his IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore here. The Indian captain is the highest run-scorer in T20 format at this ground. In 88 matches at the venue, Kohli has scored 2753 runs at an average of 37.20. That also amounts to 32.21 per cent of his overall runs in the shortest format.
#TeamIndiapic.twitter.com/osfjWKXY9cBCCI (@BCCI) September 21, 2019
Pressure mounting on Rishabh Pant
Apart from Virat Kohli, the other Indian batsman who will be under spotlight on Sunday is Rishabh Pant. With the ongoing 'fearless vs careless' debate around his batting approach, it would be interesting to see if Pant can play a knock that would be enough to silence his critics.
The wicketkeeper-batsman is the current occupant of the No.4 spot but has worrying numbers behind him in the format. Pant has 7 single-digit scores in his last 10 T20I innings after being dismissed for 4 in the last match. However, former India player Ajit Agarkar has put his weight behind Pant, saying the young batsman is being judged too harshly. That could be true to some extent as the position where Pant bats is also tricky to play at.
A No.4 batsman is needed to play through the innings and at the same time is also needed to play some risky shots. To release some pressure off Pant, it would not be a bad option to drop him down the order and move Shreyas Iyer to No.4.
Chahar, Sundar: India's new-ball duo
On the bowling front, Deepak Chahar is a serious contender for India's T20 World Cup side after his show with the ball in the Powerplay. The CSK bowler also has a range of skills that makes him further crucial in the side.
India's other Powerplay option in recent times has been Washington Sundar. The 19-year-old has also opened the batting for Tamil Nadu in first-class cricket, which further strengthens his case in the side as Kohli had earlier stated that India are looking for more depth in their batting.
While India have a number of players to pick from, South Africa, on the other hand, are on the road of re-building a team and are still grappling with life after AB de Villiers, something that was quite evident during the 2019 World Cup. Without the likes of de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla, South Africa's batting line-up that consists of young middle-order batsmen was exposed against the Indian bowlers in the 2nd T20I.
The tourists started out well with captain Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma giving the team a solid start, however, they lost their way in the middle after David Miller failed to stand strong with the in-experienced players in the middle-order.
Quinton de Kock's dominant numbers
De Kock seemed to be adjusting in the captain's role quite comfortably as was seen in Mohali. His mature innings under pressure in absence of senior players was the biggest positive from the loss. With his side looking to level the series on Sunday, de Kock would hold the key as he enjoys a good record at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
While playing in the IPL, de Kock has made 384 runs in 10 T20 innings at the same venue, with two fifties and a hundred for Delhi Capitals against Royal Challengers. De Kock has some memorable innings in India in the shortest format of the game as 3 of his 5 best scores have come here. With shorter boundaries on offer in Bengaluru, the South African skipper would look to better his numbers in the country.
Both the teams would look to go with the same team combinations as it would not be wise to judge the players on the basis of their performance in a single match.