After scripting history by winning any maiden series in the South African soil, the men in blue-led by Virat Kohli will be eyeing to end their eight week long tour with a win on Satuirday, when they face the Proteas in the third and final T20I at Newlands Cricket Ground here on Saturday.
After a thumping 5-1 victory in the ODI series, Team India continued with their winning momentum in the T20I series as they won the first match by 28 runs and took a 1-0 lead. However, the hosts made a comeback in the second match and won the affair by six wickets to keep the series alive.
Riding on opener Shikhar Dhawan’s 72-run knock, which helped them post a mammoth 203 run, followed by pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s fifer, the visitors restricted the Proteas at 175 runs to set a 28-run victory in the first T20I.
In the second issue, Manish Pandey’s and MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 79 and 52 run innings helped India post a respectable 188 in the allotted 20 overs however, South Africa wicketkeeper Heinrich Klassen and skipper JP Duminy’s fantastic half-centuries guided the hosts home with eight balls to spare.
In the final match, Team India’s batting will once again rely on inform Shikhar Dhawan, Dhoni and Pandey while Kohli, who has managed to amass just 27 runs in two games, can also be a dangerous affair for the hosts bowler. Also, Hardik Pandya and T20 specialist Suresh Raina carry the ability to explode on any given day.
In the bowling department, the men in blue will be expecting Yuzvendra Chahal to repeat his ODI show for a final time in the series as the spinner has struggled in the last two T20 games. Chahal had leaked 64 runs in the second game without bagging a single wicket.
However, if Chahal misses a place in the playing XI on Saturday night, Kuldeep Yadav could replace him in the all-important game. Also, Bhuvaneshwar and Pandya are likely to feature in the final showdown.
On the other side, hosts skipper Duminy will also be hungry for a victory to set up a series win after being brutally thrased in the 50-over format.
Proteas, who went into Centurion T20I with an unchanged squad, are likely to stick to their playing eleven. Reeza Hendricks and Jon-Jon Smuts are once again expected to open their innings while Duminy will be aiming for another clinical show from his bat once again.
Apart form them, Klaasen remains a vital cog in Protean batting lineup and David Miller will be expected to contribute from his willow.In the bowling department, Junior Dala has impressed till now and Chris Morris will be aiming to play the role of a senior bowler in the squad. Also, the likes of pacer Andile Phehukwayo will again be crucial for the hosts.
Moreover, a lot will again depend on the toss as it is expected to rain here on Saturday morning, which will be a disturbing factor for the pacers.