IND vs SA: Five battles to watch in the upcoming T20I series

ind vs sa

IND vs SA: South Africa tour of India for a five-match T20I series later this month. The series will start from June 9 at the Arjun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. India would be without their star players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been rested for the series.

In the absence of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul will lead the world’s top T20 team. KL Rahul, who led LSG to the playoffs in the recently concluded IPL 2022, will lead a relatively young side against the Proteas as the team management looks to test his team ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year. This is expected to be a hard-fought series. Both the teams have some world class players and they will struggle some heavily in the matches.

India is currently on a 12-match winning streak in T20Is, and a win in the first T20I against South Africa will set a new world record for most consecutive wins in T20Is.

Here are five major battles that are likely to determine the matches in the series:

1. Rishabh Pant vs Tabrez Shamsi

Rishabh Pant vs Tabrez Shamsi
Rishabh Pant vs Tabrez Shamsi

Rishabh Pant has come under scrutiny as the captain of Delhi Capitals after some dubious calls that ruled his team out of IPL 2022. Though Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has backed the young captain, Pant will be disappointed after his costly mistakes. He enjoyed a decent season with the bat, scoring 340 runs at a strike above 150. He would like to put the IPL 2022 disappointment against South Africa behind him.

On the other hand, Tabrez Shamsi is a skilled operator. The left-arm spinner is tough to play against and also tough to attack. The top-order bowler in T20Is has been really impressive in this format with his accuracy and deception. South Africa was the joint-highest wicket-taker in T20Is in 2021 with 36 wickets in 22 matches.

Pant is known for his big hits in the shortest format of the game and likes to take on the spinners with the first ball. But Shamsi becomes even more dangerous when the batsman wants to attack him. The southpaw’s contribution will be crucial for the Indian side in the later stages of the innings.

2. KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada

KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada
KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada

KL Rahul enjoyed another stellar season in the IPL as he crossed the 600-run mark for the fourth time in five years. The stellar opening partnership with Quinton de Kock proved to be formidable for the teams in this year’s tournament. The right-handed batsman took the ball at an impressive average of 40.68 with two centuries at 142.49 to his name in T20Is.

Kagiso Rabada finished as the third highest wicket-taker in IPL 2022 with 23 wickets. The pacer was at his best in the later stages of the tournament as he troubled the batsmen with his pace. The 26-year-old is just one wicket short of reaching 50 wickets in T20Is for South Africa.

Rahul’s clash with Rabada is one of the much awaited battles of the upcoming series. The Indian captain at the crease will set the stage for the incoming batsmen. Meanwhile, Rabada will try to get Rahul out early so that his team can get a good start in their bowling innings.

3. Ishaan Kishan vs. Enrique Nortje

Ishaan Kishan vs. Enrique Nortje
Ishaan Kishan vs. Enrique Nortje

Although Ishan Kishan ended the IPL season with 418 runs, he would be disappointed with his overall performance in the tournament. The southpaw’s struggle at the top of the order was one of the big factors behind MI’s dominance in IPL 2022. The opener would like to emulate the good form he showed against Sri Lanka ahead of the IPL.

Meanwhile, Enrique Nortje joined Delhi Capitals late in the IPL as he was injured. While he was rustling in the first two games, the speedster quickly regained his form and was ruthless against the batsmen with his hard length. The fast bowler took nine wickets in six matches in IPL 2022.

Kishan is a free-flowing batsman who likes to be expressive at the start of his innings, but Nortje’s pace and accuracy are more than likely to trouble the southpaw. The right-arm pacer is known for his quick bouncers and will aim to highlight Kishan’s weakness against short deliveries.

4. David Miller vs Harshal Patel

David Miller vs Harshal Patel
David Miller vs Harshal Patel

Gujarat Titans won their maiden IPL title on the back of stellar performances from veteran David Miller. Dasher looked to be in great form throughout the season, having been dominant in the middle order for the Titans. The southpaw enjoyed his most illustrious season in the IPL with 481 runs to his name. ‘Killer Miller’ as he is famously known will be South Africa’s leading batsman in the upcoming series.

After his record-breaking season in IPL 2021, Harshal Patel was called up in the national team. The medium-pacer did not rise to heights during this stint in the IPL but was as impressive as ever with his variations and accuracy. The RCB pacer finished the season in IPL 2022 with 19 wickets under eight runs per over.

Herschel’s fight with Miller is going to be quite an interesting one. One of the best finishers will be up against Patel’s variations and skills. Miller’s three consecutive sixes against the famous Krishna in Qualifier 1 reminded us of his power-hitting abilities. It was a warning to bowlers across the world. Therefore, RCB must be spot on with their balls, or else they will die in the stands.

5. Aiden Markram vs. Yuzvendra Chahal

Aiden Markram vs. Yuzvendra Chahal
Aiden Markram vs. Yuzvendra Chahal

Aiden Markram was another Protean player who enjoyed a breakout season in the IPL. The right-handed batsman scored 381 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad at an average of 47.63. The former U-19 captain is currently second in the T20I men’s player rankings.

The leading wicket taker of IPL 2022 with 27 wickets, Chahal failed to cross the final hurdle as Rajasthan Royals were defeated by Gujarat Titans in the final. Chahal was Rajasthan’s most consistent bowler throughout the season as he courted batsmen with his clever bowling. His impressive showing in the just concluded IPL was rewarded with a call up to the Indian team.

Markram is an excellent spin bowler and prefers to be up front against him, which Chahal would like to take advantage of. It will be interesting to see how the South Africans adapt to Chahal’s tricks.

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