India v South Africa: Predicted XI 2nd T20 in Cuttack
The second T20 of the ongoing series between India and South Africa will take place at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. Host India will try to bounce back in the series after the 7 wicket defeat to South Africa in Dharamsala. Visitors South Africa for the first time in the history of India-South Africa bilateral series are all set to seal the series and give their campaign in India a huge boost. The onus is now on India’s shoulder to save their reputation by winning against South Africa.
India in the last T20 were outclassed by South Africa in two aspects; one is the last five overs batting and bowling.
During India’s innings last five overs, while batting was dismantled by fall of four wickets, South Africa, on the other hand, did not lose a single wicket in the same time. JP Duminy shifted the gear of their chase in the 16th over by taking 22 runs of Axar Patel. Although, umpire denied a vociferous appeal against JP Duminy off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Indian bowlers did not have any clue to tackle South Africa’s batting. MS Dhoni lambasted umpires after the end of the match.
However, this is the time to look forward to the second T20. India have little to fix with their batting, the real area of problem is bowling, which has become a headache for captain Dhoni in the last match. India did not pick any of the front line bowlers like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron for this series.
In Dharamsala, which is the quickest wicket in India, slow Indian medium pacers were too much predictable for Proteas batsmen. Meanwhile, South Africa bowlers were in comparison to Indian bowlers were better disciplined.
In Cuttack, unlike, Dharamsala spinners will get assistance. So, India may drop one seamer and include legspinner, Amit Mishra. Similarly, South Africa may discard Merchant de Lange and include young, two matches old, leg-spinner Eddie Leie, who will join Imran Tahir to increase the sharpness of South Africa’s spin department. The eye will again be on Tahir to know how his bowling trouble Indian batsmen on a spinning pitch before the ODI and Test series starts.
Among the Indian bowlers, only R. Ashwin looked sound on the Dharamsala pitch. So, it is expected that he would be more formidable at spin friendly Barbati Stadium. But still the Indian pace bowling department will be a matter of concern for captain MS Dhoni. Experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma have to fix their problem and have to come up with ideas to prevent Protea batsmen from scoring run easily.
In the last match AB de Villiers and JP Duminy battered Indian bowlers before marching to their first T20 victory in India. India also can toy with the idea of playing Stuart Binny in place of Sreenath Aravind, who conceded 45 runs in four over. Though Arvind took the wicket of Faf du Plessis, his overall bowling was unimpressive. As the match at Cuttack is do or die for India to level the series, India should play their best possible XI.
On the contrary, South African bowling, especially Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada, who just crossed his boyhood, troubled Indian batsmen a little bit. While Abbott got two wickets conceding just 29 runs, Rabada did not get a wicket, but his temperament was fine. So, it will be interesting how Rabada, who could be the new sensation of fast bowling, bowl on a slow Barabati pitch.
Talking about Indian batting Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have to show more patience and maturity when they are batting. As most of the Indian players came back to international cricket after four months, looked rusty in their first outing. Rayudu in the last match failed to soak the pressure as a result , he got run out at a crucial juncture of India’s innings. Ajinkya Rahane could make the cut into the playing XI over Rayudu.
However, it is expected that India will bounce back strongly in the match. But, at the end of the day we have to note that South African batsmen such as De Villers, JP Duminy, David Miller and Faf du Plessis have plenty of experiences of IPL matches at this ground. So their familiarity with Indian conditions will not make much difference between the two teams, JP Duminy said before the first T20 in Dharamsala. So get ready for another great thriller.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma
South Africa: Hasim Amla, AB de Villers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Farhaan Bahardien, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott, Albie Morkel, Imran Tahir