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IND vs SA 5th T20I Preview: Pant and co aim for historic home series win

India vs South Africa Preview: In the final match of the T20I series which hangs in balance at 2-2 will be a mouthwatering clash as both the teams will fancy their chances at a batting-friendly pitch

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India vs South Africa | India cricket team | South Africa cricket team

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Rishabh Pant Captain of India and Temba Bavuma (captain) of South Africa at toss during the 4th T20I between India and South Africa held at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on the 17th June 2022. Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI
Rishabh Pant Captain of India and Temba Bavuma (captain) of South Africa at toss during the 4th T20I between India and South Africa held at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on the 17th June 2022. Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI

After two scintillating wins, Rishabh Pant’s men will have the momentum with them when they take the field at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday, June 19, 2022, in the final match of the five-match T20I series which is squared at 2-2. The Indian team trailed 0-2 after losing the first two matches at New Delhi and Cuttack but came back strongly to register two big wins (by 48 runs in Visakhapatnam and by 82 runs in Rajkot).

South Africa, on the other hand, lost track completely as one after the other they dished out two very below-average batting performances and in fact, registered their lowest total ever in the fourth T20I at Rajkot. Thus, the pressure is on Temba Bavuma’s unit to recover well and show that the first two wins were no fluke shots and that they are one of the toughest oppositions going around the world.

What’s at stake?

Its’ the final of the series which is at 2-2 courtesy of two very comprehensive wins from the men in blue. For India, it is an opportunity to win their first-ever T20I series against South Africa in India. On the other hand, South Africa have the chance to keep their streak of not losing a T20I series in India intact if they win this match.

Who will be the two key players for both teams?

Dinesh Karthik

The magic man from Tamil Nadu found his magic in the IPL team from the neighbouring state as Karthik 2.0 was discovered by Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022. Though he did not get to play any match at the M Chinnaswamy the home of red and gold, he will return there as a proud son of the soil who earned his maiden T20I fifty in just the last game and almost single-handedly stretched the series to the final match.

It seems as if all this was planned to culminate in a way that Karthik would win yet another series for India (remember Nidhas Trophy!), but this time at his home ground. Therefore he becomes the numero uno danger for the opposition team.

by all means is a big game player and not having been his best in the last two games that he has played, the southpaw will be itching to show his class and what batter than a pitch where the ball comes on to the bat real nice. He is a hit-through-the-line batter and bounce supports his style of batting. South Africa will count on their experienced player to once again deliver for them in a very important game.

vs Hardik Pandya: A key battle to watch out for

hasn’t really been able to showcase his skill fully and justify his world-class stature as a T20 giant. So far he has been able to pick up only one wicket in four games and averages a dismal 102. It is therefore important to note that he will be itching to go big and having played a season for RCB at Bengaluru, he would want to utilise all that experience and outfox the Indian batters.

But the biggest challenge in front of him will be who thrashed him left right and centre in the last game to ruin his figures. Hardik’s style of play is such that he can pull the ball off the front foot too and can play the short-arm jabs very aggressively. He is fast at spotting lengths and therefore doesn’t allow Shamsio to execute his plans.

Possible changes in the playing elevens of both the teams

With India, it is sure that head coach Rahul Dravid has no plans of changing the team balance whatsoever and the fact that he believes in giving long ropes to talented youngsters, a change in the playing 11, that too in the last game of the series in which he has not changed the combination even once, is highly improbable.

Proteas, who have changed their playing combination in all the four matches so far, mint be doing it in this game too as Kagiso Rabada would likely come into the side in place of Marco Janse, who could not make any kind of impact with either ball or bat in the last game in which eh was tried for the first time in the series.

How will the pitch play?

The pitch at the M Chinnaswamy has been a batting-friendly one ever since the early 2010s and it will most likely continue to be the same for this game too and a high-scoring thriller will be in the offing. However, the way things panned out at SCA Stadium, Rajkot, another venue known for high-scoring games, nothing can be predicted for certain.

Who holds the edge?

The Indian bowlers are in great form and the likes of Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal will be playing at their home ground, having been part of the RCB set-up for quite a long time. Therefore India would fancy their chances to win a thrilling series having been 0-2 down and then come back to win it 3-2.

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First Published: Sat, June 18 2022. 18:06 IST