If we needed an ad for a five-match bilateral T20I series and one on the back of a 74-match IPL, this is it.
We saw the hosts go down 2-0 with a middle order that looked like they couldn’t pull it off, then come back to win their last two, must-win games with finishers dominating a much vaunted visiting attack. India has the momentum, but South Africa has reason to snatch it away. South Africa entered this series after a very successful T20I run, having won 11 of their last 12 games. They found unlikely heroes and continued to do so in the first two games, underscoring that their teamwork is not a galaxy of superstars. Inevitably, some have emerged in this series.
For South Africa, Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen won the first two matches, despite few considering them T20I match winners, and they have found room for two all-rounders and two specialist spinners in an XI. Their team composition shows signs of the creativity it once lacked, and their T20 approach has become more innovative. But their frontline bowlers were missing and that may be where the series can be won or lost. People like Kagiso Rabada, who shone in the IPL, and Anrich Nortje, who is coming back from injury, might want to have their say. Or they might not get there because the weather in Bengaluru doesn’t seem to be cooperating, and if the series stays tied at 2-2, that’s not too bad either.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa LLWWW
In the spotlight
A South African side that no longer relies on superstars appears to have dimmed its brightness from Quinton de Kock , who hasn’t scored a half-century of T20I in six innings since last year’s T20 World Cup. In this series, De Kock missed two games with injury and was eliminated after a substitution with Dwaine Pretorius in the previous game, so he hasn’t had as much of a chance to impress as he would have liked. But South Africa needs him if they want a better, faster start. Their other lead-off hitters, Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks, both need some time to settle down and are more concerned with switching shots than hitting the limits, making De Kock’s role even more important.
india: (possibly) 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt & wk), 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Yuzvendra chahal
South Africa: (possibly) 1 and 2 Quinton de Kock/Reeza Hendricks/Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 David Miller, 5 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 6 Dwaine Pretorius, 7 Marco Jansen/Wayne Parnell, 8 Kagiso Rabada , 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Tabraiz Shamsi
Location and conditions
The Chinnaswamy is known as a belter, thanks to small boundaries and a flat field, the Chinnaswamy has not held a single cricket cricket since before the pandemic, when it was known as a venue that produces runs and is unfriendly to spinners. But for that to happen, the players must enter the park. It was a wet build-up to the game, with heavy rain on Friday evening and drizzle throughout Saturday, affecting the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy at other venues in the same city. There is a 70% chance of rain on match day.
Statistics and trivia
- The average first innings score in T20Is in the Chinnaswamy is 155. In the 2019 season, the average first innings score over completed IPL games is close – 154.
“Maybe it’s a lack of adaptability the day we have to go back and address it. Obviously it’s a big game on Sunday for the series, and we need to be a bit more proactive than reactive in this kind of thing.” situations.”
Keshav Maharaj hopes South Africa can learn to adjust game plans as decision is made
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South African correspondent