Rajkot: The mood of Indian cricketers is upbeat following a convincing 48-run victory over the Proteas in the third T20I at Visakhapatnam, and a revitalised India would like to maintain the momentum in the fourth T20I, which will be played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on Friday. If Team India wins today and evens the five-match series at 2-2, the final outing on Sunday in Bengaluru will be a must-win for both teams to bag the series.
Infrequent rain for the last few days and the sun playing hide and seek, but the good news is that meteorological bosses have predicted that there is no expectation of rain on Friday evening.
The form of Ishan Kishan has been impressive. His aggressive brand of cricket in the top order has given a lot of courage and confidence to later order batters. The resurgent batting of Gaikwad and top-quality bowling by Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel in the third encounter were heartening for the boys in blue. Both bowlers shared seven wickets and folded the visitors for a paltry score of 131.
Gaikwad was under tremendous pressure in the Vishakhapatnam match because he had piled up just 63 runs in his last five innings in the shortest format of the game. He notched his maiden international half-century, which would have provided him a plethora of confidence.
Leggie Chahal was totally out of form and conceded 75 runs in six overs in the first two matches of the series as the visitors thrashed his bowling at will without taking unnecessary risk. In the third match, he came back like a roaring tiger and sent Dwayne Pretorious, Rassie van der Dussen, and Heinrich Klaasen to the hut in quick time, which helped India to win the match and remain alive in the series.
India has to come hard in today’s match as South Africa has been gearing up to seal the series. Quinton de Kock is looking fit as he took the field and took part in the team’s practice session. He was out of action after the first match in Delhi due to injury.
Meanwhile, South Africa batsman Aiden Markram has to catch a flight to return home because he tested Covid positive at the start of the series. He remained in quarantine for seven days and was not able to take the field in the final two matches of the series, said Cricket South Africa.
In fact, an enthralling battle is on the cards as India would like to put every ounce of energy into squaring the series 2-2, while South Africa will step down with the objective of winning the match and series and making the rubber a mere formality.