Vishakhapatnam: Before the start of the five-match T20Is series against the touring South African side, the hosts were on the brink of creating a new world record. After a run of 12 successive victories in the shortest format of the game, India was standing along with Afghanistan and Romania and needed just one more victory to script a history of winning 13 matches in a row, but failed in their mission.
After losing the first two T20Is against the Proteas, the men in blue are looking to win the third match of the series to be played at Vishakhapatnam today to keep the rubber alive. In the first two matches, South Africa looked better prepared and mentally fresher than their counterparts.
In the opening encounter, India started the proceedings with a bang, scoring more than 200 runs. The visitors accepted the challenge and chased down the target quite easily. All credit should be given to Miller and Rassie as they hammered the Indian attack all around the Kotla park without any furor.
The second match of the series was a one-sided affair. On a double-paced Cuttack track, the rusty batting from the batters puts extra pressure on bowlers. Defending 148 runs needs some extraordinary bowling. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s outstanding spell raised the hope of the hosts, for the time being, to contest the match till the end. Bhuvi scalped four wickets, conceding just 13 runs. Meanwhile, other bowlers were clueless against the hurricane of Heinrich Klaasen.
The Rishabh Pant-led side needs to be aggressive in all departments of the game. Team India played some fine cricket in patches but lacked consistency in the opening two matches. The absence of the regular skipper and some senior players has created a gap in the team.
Youngsters have a golden opportunity to impress the selectors to be considered for the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia this year.
A sublime performance is the requirement from the home team to match the super fit South African side. If India fails to pull up today, then the series will go in favour of the visitors. Today’s victory will give South Africa an unassailable lead in the ongoing T20I series.
It is expected that some new faces may get a chance in today’s match. Either Arshdeep Singh or Umran Malik are expected to make their debut in today’s crucial encounter to be held at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam, from 7:30 pm. Be ready for a thrilling match as both teams are ready to step down on the ground with different aims. The visitors would like to seal the series, while the hosts want to keep it alive.