Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], June 18 (ANI): With the T20I series tied at 2-2 the fifth and final match between India and South Africa here at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday becomes a virtual final. India are eyeing their first T20I series win against Proteas on home soil while for the visitors it will be important to keep intact their great record against India in their backyard.
Ishan Kishan will be a crucial player for India going into the final match. He is the highest run-scorer in the series so far, with 191 runs and two half-centuries in four innings under his belt. He will have to fire with positive intent and give India the start they need. Ruturaj Gaikwad will also have to find consistency and give Kishan company for the good part of the powerplay.
Shreyas Iyer will have to step up his game and bat better against the pacers. It has been his weakness throughout the series. Captain Rishabh Pant will also be looking forward to scoring good, for the sake of his team and for sake of his spot in T20Is.
Vice-captain Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik will have to score well and keep their good form intact to make sure things finish off on good note for Indians while batting.
After a disappointing performance with the ball in the first two games, the Indian bowlers redeemed themselves quite a lot within the next two games. Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be extremely important for India as pacers. Patel is the leading wicket-taker in the series with seven with Kumar at second with six scalps. Their bowling in powerplay/death overs will be extremely crucial. Avesh Khan will also be the one worth watching out for after his 4/18 in the previous game.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel will also have to do well and provide a challenge to a solid Proteas batting line-up consisting of likes of Quinton De Kock, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen. It would be important for them to not go for too many runs and also give some important wickets to their side regularly.
South Africa on the other hand have a lot of things to address. Their batting line-up has not done well in past two games. However, with the return of Quinton De Kock to the side, Proteas will surely get a boost during a match as important as this. Miller and Van Der Dussen will also have to showcase the blistering form they had in the first game. Klaasen will also have to play as he did in the 2nd T20I.
For a good part of this series, Proteas bowling has been a concern. They let India get a great start during powerplay or a dominant first half sometimes and also could not cash in on momentum gathered by getting some early wickets. This would be something Proteas need to work on.
Pacer Kagiso Rabada is out due to an injury. In his absence, Anrich Nortje will have to shoulder the responsibilty, though he has not hit the right form throughout the series. Spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj have been weak links of SA bowling with their poor economy rates of 10.20 and 9.81 respectively. They will have to contribute well with their spin.
The match could go either way, but with the series at stake, there is no way that spectators would be able to go away from their seats or rooms with some exciting action taking place in front of them!India T20I squad: Rishabh Pant (cwk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen and Marco Jansen. (ANI)