For two evenings in a row in the lead-up, it’s rained, and quite strongly so, and there’s a definite chill in the air once the sun sets. In addition, there is a prediction of showers for the match day, although it is likely to subside by the moment the game is planned to start in Dharamsala.
After the meltdown in England and Wales, Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy have all retired, while Faf du Plessis will tune up with an extended spell at Kent for the Test series. In their lack, the responsibility lies with de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen, who established himself as a well-traveled and versatile T20 player in the franchise–leading the way with the bat.
The hosts have already started building up, sweeping West Indies 3-0 last month in the Caribbean. They will now have to adapt to the evolving T20 landscape, a move away from their safety-first strategy in 2016’s past T20 World Cup. This series is another opportunity to settle in the middle order for the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant.
Lance Klusener, former all-rounder who is here as assistant batting coach, saw a chance for the South Africans against India’s inexperienced bowling.
“That (inexperience of Indian bowlers) is an area we are going to take advantage of. Our focus will be on ourselves and the little areas that we can take advantage of. And may be, that’s one of them,” he said.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Manish Pandey/Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Washington Sundar, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Navdeep Saini
South Africa (probable): 1. Quinton de Kock (capt & wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Temba Bavuma, 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 David Miller, 6 Andile Phehlukwayo, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 George Linde, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Junior Dala, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi