New Delhi: International cricket has returned to Indian soil with the first T-20I between India and South Africa to be played on Thursday at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium.
The visitors are in the driving seat at the moment because of the absence of some of the senior players, as they have been given rest. The home team suffered another setback ahead of the start of the five-match T-20Is series as stand-in-captain KL Rahul and spinner Kuldeep Yadav will not be part of today’s match due to injuries. Rahul is ruled out due to a right groin injury, while Kuldeep got a blow on his right hand while batting in the nets.
In Rahul’s absence, wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who was previously named vice captain, will lead the side.Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya will be Rishabh Pant’s deputy.
The heat wave and rising temperatures in Delhi will be an issue for the players and the full-capacity crowd as well. Although several Proteas players played in the recently concluded IPL.
Citing the hot weather, the BCCI has decided to implement drink breaks at regular intervals to allow players to cool off. It will take place after 10 overs to provide a much-needed respite to the players.
However, T20Is are played without any drink breaks, but the ICC allowed it during the T-20 World Cup held in the UAE in 2021.
Temba Bavuma, South Africa’s skipper, said, “We expected it to be hot, not this hot.” Luckily, the games are being played in the evening. At night, it is more tolerable. The guys are trying to keep themselves hydrated, and as mentally fresh as they can be.
Today’s encounter will be held at the full house capacity. Delhi is hosting an international match after a gap of almost three years. So, cricket fans are enthusiastic about enjoying the match from the stadium.
Tickets have already been sold out. The last international match was played here on November 3, 2019, when India faced Bangladesh in a T-20I.
Both sides are seeking to perform better. South Africa has an edge due to the absence of several senior players, but Pant’s young side is capable of getting past the Proteas.
Budding cricketers such as Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, and others have a chance to impress the selectors with their performance if they get a chance in the playing eleven. But never underestimate the visitors.
India and South Africa have faced each other 15 times in T-20Is. India emerged victorious 9 times, whereas South Africa defeated the men in blue six times.
It’s going to be an absorbing tussle between the two sides. Be ready for today’s fixture that will start at 7:30 pm. The time of the toss is 7 pm.