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Putting behind an unsuccessful World Cup campaign is never easy, and with a new-look side, South Africa will be looking to do just that. Keeping the 2020 T20 World Cup in mind, the Proteas are set to try a new set of players, most of them handpicked from the domestic T20 competition, under a new leader - Quinton de Kock.
Their next assignment is up against India, who have been in terrific form right from the beginning of this summer. Proteas and India are set to lock horns in a long tour which is beginning with the three-match T20I series. The first of the three matches is set to be played at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala on Sunday, 15th September. This series marks the beginning of the countdown to the ICC World T20 and both the sides will be looking to take the early momentum with a win here. We expect a cracker of a contest between the two teams at Dharamsala.
Indians were knocked out of the World Cup, thanks to a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Black Caps, but they have come a long way since then. India haven't been as good a side in T20s as they've been in other formats of the game and as per the words of Ravi Shastri, India are going to revamp their playing style in the shortest version of the game.
The new approach was already visible in their recent 3-0 win over West Indies. The inclusion of players who like to go bang-bang from the word go was just an example of their vision for the World T20 in 2020. With the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Shikhar Dhawan available at the top of the order, their top order looks as reliable as any in the world. However, it's the middle order which has been the area of concern for the management for a long time.
The likes of Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant have shown glimpses of brilliance, but performing consistently has been a big issue for them. Shreyas Iyer did exceedingly well in the last series, and the fans will be hoping for another string of good performances from him. With KL Rahul doing well in the limited-overs leg of the game, we might as well see him coming in at number four. However, thanks to four poor outings in the test series, the odds are stacked heavily against him.
With MS Dhoni absent from the T20I squad, India have a huge void to fill. Rishabh Pant has shown the same hitting ability as Dhoni did in his prime days, but the consistency, shot selection, and ability to handle the pressure hasn't really been there.
India's bowling lineup, which looks terrific on-paper with the likes of Bumrah, Kuldeep, and Chahal won't be the same in this series. The selectors have decided to take some pressure off the trio in this T20I series, and the onus will be on the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Khaleel Ahmed, who all did reasonably well in the series against West Indies. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar also doing well, albeit he too is not part of the team, the three speedsters will be fighting for the lone spot in the pace department once Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar return to the squad.
With batting available till Ravindra Jadeja, who is likely to come in at eight, India have the ability to chase down or score any total batting first. Their only problem appears to be a little inexperienced and fragile middle order, which is prone to break under pressure. If the likes of Pant and Pandey are able to step up their game, this Indian unit might prove to be too hot to handle for the Proteas.
Playing 11 not yet available.
Playing spin has always been an Achilles heel for the Proteas. To rectify this problem and to get acquainted to the Indian conditions, a few of Protean players took part in a spin camp at Bangalore just a month ago. Even though a few players have good experience of playing different T20 leagues across the globe, the Proteas are undoubtedly short on international experience.
Following the retirement of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and Imran Tahir, the Proteas have considerable boots to fill. The absence of Faf du Plessis, who has opted out of this series to prepare for the longest version of the game is likely to be felt as well. The onus will be on the likes of Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, and Rassie van der Dussen, who are coming off reasonably good performances in T20 Cricket.
Their bowling, however, seems pretty good with the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje being available again. The duo was ruled out of injuries in the World Cup and will be looking to make a mark in this T20I series. If they are able to pick up early wickets, we could see weak Indian middle-order under a bit of pressure against this power-packed bowling attack.
Before the T20 World Cup, South Africa do not have much time to get their combination right and each of the nine matches they have until then is of massive importance. On paper, they have a squad that is rich in T20 expertise with the likes of David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, and Quinton de Kock available at their disposal. Having said that, their form is a bit of concern.
Playing 11 not yet available.
In recent times in the shortest version of the game, the teams have preferred to chase total downs more often than not. This is mainly because of the fact that the surface is unlikely to change over the course of forty overs and the pressure of setting a total is more in T20 Cricket. There is a strong possibility of Duckworth Lewis method coming into consideration in the upcoming match, and because of that as well as the other mentioned reasons, the captain winning the toss is likely to bat first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
It is monsoon season in India, and the threat of rain looms large in Dharamsala. There is a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms, which are unlikely to stretch till the start time of the match. Considering that, it is hard to predict how the surface at Dharamsala will behave. Historically, it's been a hard surface with, and the altitude makes the ball move around a bit. The elevation above sea level also helps the ball fly out of the bat towards the boundary ropes with lightning-quick outfield acting as the catalyst. South Africa have some fond memories of playing at this venue as they chased down a tall Indian total the last two times these two teams met at this venue. More than the spinners, the seamers are likely to enjoy bowling on this surface. The team batting first will be looking to score in excess of 175 to feel confident going into the second half of the game.
With most players costing more than nine credit points in Dream11 selection, picking a balanced team is not easy in this encounter. The selection dilemma begins with the wicket-keeper position, as there are two swashbuckling choices available. We have decided to go with Quinton de Kock as he bats higher up the order and has been more consistent over the years as compared to his Indian counterpart.
Picking up Indian batsmen was a straight-forward choice with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in terrific form. It was a tough decision not to include Shikhar Dhawan, but as he's been absent from international cricket for a while and is a little too costly, we decided to keep him out. We instead brought in three South African top-order batsmen in Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, and Temba Bavuma.
In the all-rounders' department as well, it was a tough decision to not to pick Jadeja or junior Pandya, but to lend balance to our lineup, we decided to go with Phehlukwayo and Krunal Pandya.
Since the surface is likely to assist quick bowlers, we have opted for an all-pace attack with Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Kagiso Rabada being our picks in this department.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy lineup for the first T20I between India and South Africa below. Don't forget to check the updated version right after the toss.
With a few important players absent for both the sides, they both will be looking to get most out of their young batch of players. South Africa have their bases covered, but the inexperience of playing against spinners in India could be a massive factor. India, on the other hand, are likely to miss the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. South Africa haven't really done particularly well in the limited-overs format of late and will be looking to get back to the winning ways. They are playing in relatively alien conditions and considering that and the form of the home team makes India as firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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