Temba Bavuma and Rishabh Pant, IND vs SA
Temba Bavuma and Rishabh Pant, IND vs SA (Credits: BCCI)

With the series tied at 2-2, this series has seen South Africa’s most successful chase and lowest T20I total; India’s largest win against South Africa, career-bests for six players, and a comeback for a veteran who played in India’s first-ever T20I in 2006.

It has featured strong batting performances and deft bowling, and if there is one complaint, it is that spin has played a minor role, but that is nitpicking. 

We’ve seen the hosts go down 2-0 against a struggling middle order, only to come back to win their previous two must-win games with finishers who dominated a highly touted visiting assault. India has the advantage, but South Africa has good cause to seize it.

India vs South Africa (Image Credits: Twitter)
India vs South Africa (Image Credits: Twitter)

IND vs SA- A Series Of Comebacks

South Africa came into this series on a wave of T20I success, having won 11 of their previous 12 games. They discovered improbable heroes in the first two games and proceeded to do so in the second, demonstrating that theirs is a collective effort rather than a galaxy of superstars. Inevitably, some have risen to the surface in this series. 

The most famous is, of course, Dinesh Karthik, who has been playing cricket since the T20I era began and has evolved his game to meet the format’s development. He’s developed into a finisher, and he may be targeting the T20 World Cup to put his career on the line.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Image: BCCI

Then there’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dictates the play’s opening scene as if it were his script to write, and Hardik Pandya, who must definitely be on the verge of becoming India’s next leader. Ishan Kishan has also made an impression. 

Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen, despite few thinking them T20I match-winners, won the first two matches for South Africa, and they’ve found place in an XI for two allrounders and two specialist spinners. Their team composition is displaying symptoms of the innovation that it lacked previously, and their T20 strategy has evolved.

Their frontline bowlers, on the other hand, have been missing, and this might be the difference between winning and losing the series. Kagiso Rabada, who shone in the IPL, and Anrich Nortje, who is returning from injury, may want to weigh in on the matter.

Alternatively, they may not be able to because the weather in Bengaluru does not look to be cooperating, and if the series is shared, they may not be bad either. 

In the Spotlight 

Dinesh Karthik may have already had a spectacular homecoming in Rajkot, but he now returns to his adoptive home after an outstanding IPL season and a comeback to international cricket that is the stuff of fantasies. For the last game of the series, he will have the support of the home fans.

Dinesh Karthik. PC- BCCI
Dinesh Karthik. PC- BCCI

They’ll want to see the Karthik who struck 19 fours and 19 sixes with a strike rate of 220 in this year’s IPL at the death, not the Karthik who averages 14.40 for RCB at the Chinnaswamy, and he won’t want to disappoint them.

Karthik is playing with the freedom of a guy given a second opportunity he didn’t anticipate and making the most of it, even if he doesn’t make huge runs. That pleasant and cosy sensation is sure to catch on. 

Quinton de Kock has not produced a T20I half-century in six innings since before last year’s T20 World Cup, according to a South African team that has ceased depending on superstars.

De Kock hasn’t had as much of an opportunity to have an impression in this series due to injuries and a mix-up with Dwaine Pretorius in the last match, so he hasn’t had as much of a chance as he would have wanted. South Africa, on the other hand, requires him if they are to make a better and faster start.

Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks, their other starting hitters, both require time to settle in and are more concerned with strike rotation than boundary-hitting, emphasising de Kock’s importance. 

Team News 

Throughout the series, India has remained unaltered. There’s no need to modify anything unless they want to release Umran Malik in the finale. It would be unfair to leave out any of the current seamers, so we may have to wait for another series to see the fastest. 

India: (possible) 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 

Temba Bavuma Injury
Temba Bavuma PC- Getty Images

Captain Temba Bavuma, who suffered an injury to his left elbow on Friday night, is South Africa’s most serious injury issue. Bavuma caused the damage when diving for a single, although he had already been whacked on the upper arm a couple times.

They hadn’t yet tested whether he could comfortably wield the bat or create power by Saturday afternoon, so they’ll likely make a late decision on his availability. Reeza Hendricks will slip into the opening seat if he is unable to play, with Keshav Maharaj taking over as captain. 

South Africa: (possible) 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 

Pitch and Conditions 

M Chinnaswamy Stadium
M Chinnaswamy Stadium (Image Credit: Twitter)

The Chinnaswamy hasn’t held any white-ball cricket since before the epidemic when it was recognised as a venue that yields runs and is cruel to spinners due to narrow boundaries and a flat surface. But, in order for it to happen, the players must first get on the field.

It’s been a rainy week leading up to the match, with heavy rain on Friday night and drizzle all day Saturday, which hampered the Ranji Trophy semi-finals at other venues in the city. On match day, there’s a 70% probability of rain. 

Stats and Trivia 

  • In T20Is at the Chinnaswamy, the average first-innings score is 155. The average first-innings score among completed IPL games in 2019 is close to 154.  
  • In 2019, India and South Africa played the last T20I at this venue, with South Africa successfully chasing a score of 135. At the conclusion, Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma were undefeated. 
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the series’ best bowler, particularly up front. In four matches in the powerplay, he has bowled 54 deliveries, allowed 32 runs, and claimed four wickets at an economy rate of 3.55. 
Keshav Maharaj
Keshav Maharaj. (Photo: Twitter)

In the decider, Keshav Maharaj believes that South Africa can learn to adapt gameplans on the fly.

“Maybe it’s a lack of adaptability on the day which we need to go back and address. Obviously, it’s a big game on Sunday for the series, and we need to be a bit more proactive than reactive in these types of situations.” 

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