India vs South Africa T20I series: Massive threat Rohit Sharma should be wary of in three-match contest
Indian opener Rohit Sharma will play a crucial role for Team India when the Men in Blue begin their World T20 preparation with a three-game series against South Africa at home. The series is slated to begin on Sunday (September 15) at Dharamshala. Rohit has been in a sublime form since his breathtaking string of centuries in World Cup 2019 where he had ended as the leading run-getter despite India's disheartening semifinal exit. He scored 91 runs in two innings in the T20I series, but managed only 28 runs in two ODI matches against the West Indies.
With the South Africa series next, Rohit, who had scored his maiden T20I century against the Proteas, will aim to rise to the expectations with the added incentive of becoming the leading run-getter against the opponent in T20Is. With 340 runs against South Africa, Rohit stands 84 runs short of Martin Guptill's tally of 424 runs. Rohit's run tally has come at an average of 37.88 (best among batters who have played more than 5 T20Is against South Africa) with two half-centuries and a hundred.
However, South Africa have the perfect weapon to nullify the threatening Rohit effect. Junior Dala has dismissed Rohit three times in seven balls in the three T20I matches India and South Africa engaged in, back in early 2018. Rohit managed just four runs against the pacer.
Rohit will also look to consolidate his position as the top run-getter in T20I history with captain Virat Kohli breathing down his neck. Rohit has amassed 2422 runs in 88 innings across his career, and stands only 50 runs ahead of Kohli's tally of 2369. Besides, both have an equal number of fifty-plus scores in the format (21). While Rohit has scored four centuries and 17 fifties, Kohli has notched up 21 half-centuries.
Rohit also stands 38 runs short of surpassing Suresh Raina to become India's second-highest run-getter in T20s. Rohit has amassed 8291 runs in 303 innings and stands behind Raina (8329) and table-topper Kohli (8475).
The second T20I will be played on September 18 in Mohali while the final tie will be held on September 22 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.