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The ODI series has ended with the most emphatic loss ever for South Africa at home. Yes, there were a few big name players missing but there is no doubting the dominance of India in this contest. The visitors were better in every aspect of the game by a huge margin and that was most emphasized in their final victory where they almost cantered to a win. Only the T20 internationals remain in this tour and it remains to be seen whether South Africa will be able to make a comeback or the Indians will continue to dominate proceedings.
There are a number of players that have been rested for the T20 series against India to ensure they are absolutely fresh for the test series starting against Australia just after this T20 series ends. The view from South Africa has been to increase the player pool as they move towards the 2019 World Cup but the thrashing that India has handed them would make them more than a little nervous.
No team wants to get into the habit of losing just for the sake of trying out new players. The young players that are getting a go in the T20’s will know that they must make an immediate impact otherwise this idea of resting players could be revisited very soon.
A look at the South Africa squad for this series suggests that Jon Jon Smuts will be opening the batting with Reeza Hendricks, although, AB de Villiers could be opening the batting as well. JP Duminy has had some success for his South African franchise and those that he captains around the world.
We think he is going to play his best batsmen up front so that they get the most chance to bat the full 20 overs. With players like de Villiers, Miller, Duminy, Klassen, Behardien, and Chris Morris in the lineup, there is no shortage of power hitters.
In fact, the South Africans will be more worried about their bowling lineup because they are resting most of their frontline bowlers. We think that fast bowler Dane Paterson, Tabraiz Shamsi as the spinner, and the two all-rounders, Morris and Phehlukwayo will form the bowling attack with Duminy chipping in with a few overs.
Hendricks can also turn his arm over. Another option could be to play a bowler for one of the all-rounders but that is a call that Duminy will have to take.
The South Africans are low on confidence and will want to start this series with a bang so that they can put pressure on the Indians.
JJT Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Chris Morris, Farhaan Behardien, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.
The inevitability of the Indian victory in the final ODI would have given a lot of pride to the Indian fans because that is not something they are used to while playing South Africa anywhere in the world not least in their home.
As the focus turns to T20 cricket, the Indian team will be very similar to the ODI setup. We expect to see exactly the same bowling attack that will have the two wrist-spinners, Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, and Hardik Pandya.
India will also have Suresh Raina in the playing eleven who can roll his arm over.
The batting is also very similar. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli will form a strong top-3 that has been in brilliant touch in the ODIs. The three score 5 centuries between them and Virat became the first batsman in history to score of 500 runs in a bilateral series.
Virat Kohli also has the highest average of any player that has played more than 10 T20 internationals in the world. In fact, his average of 52.9 makes him the only cricketer to have an average of more than 50 in every format of the game.
With Pandya and Dhoni certain to be in the lineup as well, there are only two spots left up for grabs. The number 4 and 5 position has given India trouble in the limited overs format. We think that Suresh Raina and Manish Pandey will have the first chance to make this position their own and even put pressure on the selectors to give them a chance in the ODI’s.
India’s Achilles heel in T20 cricket has been starting a little slow but they are unlikely to change their style of play. Everything that Virat Kohli is doing is turning to gold and he is bossing South Africa in a manner that has never been witnessed before.
Betting against him doing the same in the T20’s is going to require some pretty high odds to convince us.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, V Kohli, SK Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal, JD Unadkat.
We are back at the Wanderers for the first T20. India lost their only ODI at this ground and that should give the South Africans some hope. The South Africans also defeated India the last time the two teams met here way back in 2012.
The pitch is expected to be flat and offer very little to the bowlers. The weather forecast is pretty good for the first half of the match with some rain expected in the area as night falls. Hopefully, though, we will be able to get a full match in without any delays.
India and South Africa have met each other in 10 T20 matches where India has won 6 and lost 4. India has also won the last four T20 matches it has played and is in excellent form right now. South Africa found the going easy against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but they will not have the same luxury playing against India.
India’s bowling attack seems superior to South Africa’s at the moment and should give them an edge.