India vs South Africa: Team India looks to land final T20 punch

TOI

TOI

Author 2019-09-22 12:42:00

Highlights

  • Virat Kohli and his men will go into the final game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium with an eye on wrapping up the series
  • The last time India played in Bengaluru, against Australia in January, they suffered a seven-wicket defeat
  • The three-match T20I series between India and South Africa has turned out to be a dull affair so far
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BENGALURU: The three-match T20I series between India and South Africa has turned out to be a dull affair so far. A washed-out opening game in Dharamshala was followed by a tepid Mohali contest, which India won by seven wickets without the thrills, frills and excitement associated with the format. Yes, there was the Virat Kohli sizzler but the opposition could be best described as ‘tame’.

Kohli and his men will go into the final game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Sunday with an eye on wrapping up the series, while South Africa will be keen to go even. Both teams will of course hope for the weather to hold up, with the forecast indicating the possibility of rain on a cloudy evening.

Much is at stake for both teams with each T20I match being seen as a tune-up for next year’s World Cup. Underlining the importance of the series, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan said: “Whatever we want to achieve at the World Cup, we are practising now, (so that) by the time we reach the World Cup we are refined and we know our roles with clarity. We are trying out youngsters, it is good that we are give them a good run. The young boys are seizing these opportunities with both hands. Their confidence level is high. For example, in the last match Shreyas (Iyer) finished the game. You could see from his body language that his belief and confidence is high. He did pretty well in West Indies (too).”

Although India have played just four T20 Internationals at this venue, most of the players in the line-up are familiar with the pitch conditions thanks to IPL. More importantly, it is Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli’s home turf. But then, it hasn’t really been his fortress. The last time India played here, against Australia in January, they suffered a seven-wicket defeat.

RCB had a woeful time, finishing at the bottom of the table in IPL.

With much of the grass shaved off on match eve, the pitch holds a lot of promise for the batsmen, which augers well for the big three —Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.

That said, the focus again will be on young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. The trickle of runs and his poor selection of shots have put the youngster on notice. The 22-yearold will have to get his act together with the bat and the gloves to keep his place in the team. Pant’s lack of runs could also mean a promotion up the order for Shreyas Iyer.

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