Preview: Strong India favourites against new-look South Africa
The start of South Africa’s tour to India didn’t begin on a great note as the first T20I of the series at Dharamshala was washed out. The teams must have been itching to get a chance to play. Now they would have to wait till the 18th of September where the 2nd T20I is scheduled at Mohali.
Team India, led by Virat Kohli would be pretty confident of their chances. They are, after all, playing at home and have a solid squad. The team’s batting lineup would be dependent on captain Kohli along with opener Rohit Sharma, the highest run-getter in T20I cricket. The other batsmen to watch out for India would be the young Shreyas Iyer and the dynamic wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant. Both these batsmen are young and aggressive and have the ability to turn the game around. The return of all-rounder Hardik Pandya has added further stability in the Indian batting order and his big-hitting prowess down the order is something South Africa would be wary of.
India’s new-look bowling has plenty of teeth. Left-arm pacer Khaeel Ahmed has been impressive and young pace sensation Navdeep Saini might be a handful on the Mohali pitch. Spinners Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya have shown that they can strangle opposition batsmen in the middle-overs. The cushion of Hardik Pandya’s seam bowling lends further variety to the Indian bowling.
South Africa, meanwhile, have a new-look and inexperienced team. Led by their star wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s batting will be dependent on their skipper along with the experienced David Miller and Reeza Hendricks. Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma may have an impact too in this game.
South Africa’s bowling would be led by their star bowler Kagiso Rabada, arguably one of the best pacers in the world at the moment. Rabada has plenty of experience now of playing in India and would be a threat to the Indian batting. Andile Phehlukwayo would also be a vital part of the Proteas bowling. The rest of the bowling unit is inexperienced; especially of performing in Indian conditions. Fast bowler Junior Dala would have to take plenty of responsibility. Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks has been impressive so far and the bounce of Mohali might suit him. Rassie van der Dussen’s leg-spin might be useful too in these conditions.
Match prediction – India vs South Africa, 2nd T20I:Embed from Getty Images
There have only been 4 T20Is played in Mohali so far. The highest total on this venue is India’s 211-4 against Sri Lanka in 2009 when they chased down a target of 207 in 19.1 overs.
Traditionally, the pitch at Mohali offers good bounce to bowlers and stays true through the game. The last T20I match that was played in Mohali was between India and Australia in the 2016 World T20. On a tough surface there, India chased down a target of 161 courtesy a Virat Kohli special.
In the 2nd T20I between India and South Africa, one can expect a true surface, with something in it for both the batsmen and the bowlers. The combined team total for the match should be around 330-340.
Given India’s all-round strength at home and South Africa’s inexperience, Team India are the likely winners for this game.