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India holds the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head records. These two sides have crossed paths on 17 occasions previously, of which the men in blue have won nine games and the men from the rainbow nation have emerged victoriously on six occasions, with a couple of matches being abandoned.
Given that they have been practically unstoppable in the shortest format in recent times, alongside the undeniable advantage of playing at home, we have predicted KL Rahul’s team to win this match.
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India: KL Rahul (c, wk), Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Kuldeep Yadav.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi.
India will take on South Africa for the first of the five-match T20I series on Thursday, June 9th, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
Though the heartbreaking exit from the group stages of the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup might still be fresh in the memories of Indian fans, there cannot be any argument regarding the men in blue’s improvement ever since. They have won all of their last 12 T20I matches, and this game will present a golden opportunity for KL Rahul’s team to create history. If they win this match, India will become the first team to win 13 consecutive T20I matches, breaking the record of Afghanistan and Romania.
As for South Africa, the story is pretty similar. They too were eliminated from the group stages of the T20 World Cup, but have a pretty impressive recent performance graph in the shortest format of the game. Of their last 12 matches, Temba Bavuma’s team has lost only one match.
The Indian team management will be faced with a few selection dilemmas ahead of this game. The first one is pretty simple – finding the opening partner of KL Rahul. Neither of the two options, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad, has been in decent form recently, but the lure of a left-right combination could do the trick for the former.
Besides that, selecting the perfect bowling combination will also be a challenge. India could either play both spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav and go for one less pacer, or they could try any of the new guns among Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik by playing Axar Patel as the second spin option.
On the other hand, South Africa looks more sorted in terms of their playing combination. They have a couple of fantastic pacers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and two equally good spinners in Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj to form a strong bowling quartet. The onus of scoring runs will predominantly be on the shoulders of skipper Bavuma and Quinton de Kock, while Aiden Markram and Dwaine Pretorius are likely to combine to form the fifth bowling option.
Hardik Pandya: After an extraordinary 2022 Indian Premier League campaign, which saw him leading his team Gujarat Titans to the title, Hardik Pandy will look to extend his good run of form and produce something along similar lines for the national team. In IPL, he scored 487 runs at an average of 44.27, and also picked up 8 wickets at an economy rate of only 7.27 runs per over.
Quinton de Kock: Having spent considerable time in India recently, Quinton de Kock will be perfectly acclimatized to the conditions. Like Pandya, he too had a campaign to remember, having scored 508 runs for his team Lucknow Super Giants. The Proteas wicketkeeper-batter accumulated runs at an average of 36.28 in that competition and scored one century and three half-centuries.
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|India vs South Africa, 1st T20I – Information|
|Teams||India vs South Africa|
|Location||Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi|
|Time||Thursday, 9th June 7 PM IST/1:30 PM GMT|
|How to watch||Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Kannada & Disney+ Hotstar (India), SS Grandstand, SS Variety 4 and SS Cricket (South Africa), Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Cricket (United Kingdom).|
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