India vs SA: Hardik Pandya’s return to T20 Internationals changes the equation of the playing 11 slightly as India take on South Africa in the first T20I.
After whitewashing the West Indies in all the three formats, India begin their first home assignment after World Cup 2019. They are set to take on the inexperienced South African side for a 3-match T20 series.
Team India’s squad is almost identical to that played against the West Indies with just one change. Hardik Pandya returns to the team after being rested in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder returning to the scenes, the team combination is likely to change. So, let’s have a look at the statistical preview and the predicted playing 11 for the first T20 between India and South Africa.
#1 & 2: Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan
Well, ideally, Rohit Sharma, the primary opener should open with KL Rahul, who is a prolific T20 batsman, and Shikhar Dhawan’s form in the shortest format of the game hasn’t been good.
Shikhar has had horrible returns in the West Indies series scoring only 27 runs from 3 innings. However, the team management would want to give one last chance to Shikhar Dhawan to get back to form keeping the 2020 T20 world cup in mind.
#3 & 4: Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, and Rishabh Pant
The middle-order discussion would mostly revolve around whether Manish Pandey, after his decent returns in T20 series against West Indies get to retain his place, or Shreyas Iyer, who was fantastic in the ODI series replaces him.
Shreyas Iyer looked fantastic with the bat having scored 136 runs at a strike rate of 124.76, while Pandey could only manage 27 runs from 2 innings. However, Pandey has been good against South Africa where he managed 121 runs without getting dismissed. This should prompt the team management to give him one more chance.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli would bat at number 3, and Rishabh Pant would bat at 4 or 5 depending on the situation.
#6, 7 &8: Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and Washington Sundar
The return of Hardik Pandya makes things interesting in the all-rounder department. Both, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar were good with the ball against West Indies, but one of them would have to sacrifice his place for Hardik Pandya.
Considering Washington Sundar’s utility to bowl in the power plays and middle-order, and the case of there being few lefties in the squad, he should edge Jadeja for the second spinner, and the third all-rounder position.
#9,10 &11: Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini.
Nothing much to choose in the pace department as there are only three designated pacers in the squad in the form or Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed, and Deepak Chahar.
The reason India might go with three pacers is the overcast and humid conditions. It rained pretty heavily the last night, and there are chances of rain on the game day too. Hence, Rahul Chahar would make way for Deepak Chahar as the third pacer.
So, that’s the predicted playing 11 for the first T20 match between India and South Africa.
India vs SA first T20 predicted playing 11:
INDIA: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(C), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant(WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, and Navdeep Saini.
SOUTH AFRICA: Quinton de Kock (C&WK), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, and Tabraiz Shamsi.
STATS PREVIEW | INDIA VS SOUTH AFRICA T20IS:
Overall Matches Played: 13
India Won: 8 | South Africa won: 5
341: Most Runs by Rohit Sharma (IND)
121: Best Batting Average (Min 100 runs) by Manish Pandey (IND)
148.03: Highest Strike Rate (Min 100 runs) by Suresh Raina (IND)
106: Highest Score by Rohit Sharma (IND)
10: Most Wickets by Ravichandran Ashwin (IND)
6.8: Best Bowling Average (Min 5 wickets) by RP Singh (IND)
5.66: Lowest Economy Rate (Min 5 wickets) by RP Singh (IND)
5/24: Best Bowling figures by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (IND)
What do you think about the expected playing 11? Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section.