After losing the first two games of the T20I five-game series, Team India bounced back beautifully, beating the high-flying Proteas in the third game to stay alive in the match. It was a clinical show from the Rishabh Pant-led team, who first put a total of 179/5 on the board before bundling the Proteas for 131 runs. While Ruturaj Gaikwad (57 out of 35), Ishan Kishan (54 out of 35) and Hardik Pandya (31 out of 21) shone with the bat in the first half of the match, it was Harshal Patel (4/4) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/20) who was in the spotlight with the ball.
To tie the series, India is aiming for another win when the two teams meet on Friday for the fourth T20I in Rajkot. On the other hand, the Proteas would strive to seal the series.
Here’s what we think India’s playing XI should be for the fourth T20I against South Africa:
Ishan Kishan: The left-hander can be heard in the ongoing T20I series. He is the leading scorer with 164 runs to his name from the first three games. Kishan has hit two half-centuries in the series so far.
Ruturaj Gaikwad: Registering scores of 23 and 1 in the first two games was not a good thing for Gaikwad, but the batter’s dominating 57 out of 35, which also happens to be his first international fifty, has turned the tables in his favor.
Shreyas Iyer: The righthanded batter has had a good start in the series so far, but failed to take his innings deep. With someone like in-form Deepak Hooda warming up the benches, Iyer would love to outperform in the fourth T20I.
Rishabh Pant: While captain Pant was good for the captaincy, he failed to impress as a batter. In the last two games, he recorded single-digit scores. He will be looking for an impactful knockout in the next match.
Hardik Pandya: While on the batting front, Hardik Pandya played well in sequence, the all-rounder has failed as a bowler in the series. Given the way South African batters have performed in the series so far, India needs Hardik to make noticeable contributions with the ball as well.
Dinesh Karthik: After a fantastic IPL 2022 season, Karthik has performed quite well in the limited hitting opportunities he has been given in the series so far. However, in view of the 2022 T20 World Cup, the in-form batter needs a little more playing time against a quality team like South Africa.
Axar Patel: The southpaw has had a mediocre run thus far, but as he is the only left arm spinner on the current Indian team, Axar is expected to play all games in the series. He performed well in the third T20I with numbers of 1/28 in four overs.
Harshal Patel: The pacemaker on the right arm started the series disappointingly (1/43 in four overs), but a good comeback from him in the last two games has supported the Indian tempo division led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Harshal is back 17-1 and 25-4 respectively in the second and third T20Is.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Like Harshal, Bhuvneshwar also started the series on a bad note (1/43 in four overs), but registered four wickets in the second T20I and followed it up with an economic spell in the third game. He and Harshal are the highest wicket takers in the series to date with six scalps each to their name.
Arshdeep Singh: A bad performance by Avesh Khan is likely to take him out of India’s playing XI. Arshdeep Singh seems to be the top contender for the spot as his precise Yorkers and impressive economy are something India desperately needs right now.
Yuzvendra Chahal: After a beating from the South African batters in the first two games of the series, Chahal finally seems to be back in his usual form. The street-smart leggie returned 3/20 figures in the third T20I against South Africa and won the Player of the Match award.