India vs South Africa, 4th T20I Preview: On the board, India bank on spinners to achieve parity
The 4th T20I is set to be played in Rajkot which has relatively bigger boundaries and allows the spinners to throw the ball up.
After back-to-back losses, a 48-run win came as a massive relief for India. It was their bowlers who were not able to meet expectations in the first T20Is.
When the bowlers did come to the party in the third T20 in Visakhapatnam despite the batters falling short after a brilliant start, India not only won but won big.
Openers Gaikwad, Kishan shine
The way the Indian openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan started, getting the team off to a brilliant 97-run start within the first 10 overs, the stage was set for a total well in excess of 200. In fact, this was India's joint second highest score against South Africa in T20s. The opening stand was the highest by India against South Africa in T20 Internationals, overtaking the previous best of 71 not out between Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir in 2012.
However, the South African bowlers pulled it back nicely and did not allow a power packed Indian middle order to get going. It was thanks to all rounder Hardik Pandya who remained unbeaten on 31 off 21 deliveries at a strike rate of 147.62 and delivered a couple of lusty blows in the last over that India were successful in giving South Africa a decent enough target of 180.
Dwaine Pretorius was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa and took 2 wickets while giving away just 29 runs from his 4 overs.
South Africa have continued to back their two spinners Tabrez Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj. Perhaps, it would be better for them to include an extra pacer in lieu of Keshav Maharaj. One feels that somebody with the height of Marco Jansen and the awkward bounce he is capable of producing will cause some troubles to the Indian batters.
However, it seems like the team is willing to play only one left armer between Wayne Parnell and Marco Jansen and currently it's the senior pro who is ahead in the pecking order because of his batting ability.
Indian bowlers rise to the occasion
The Indian bowlers put a squeeze on the South African batters right from the beginning in the third T20 International with Axar Patel and Harshal Patel dismissing the two South African openers.
Yuzvendra Chahal, after having a couple of really bad games, then came to his own, breaking the back of the South African middle order. Harshal Patel then took some cheap wickets towards the end to seal the deal for India as he finished with his best T20 figures of 4/25.
Chahal back to his best
Chahal received the Man of the Match award for his 3 wickets which came at the expense of just 20 runs. He will be a handful in the upcoming match as well.
The 4th T20I is set to be played in Rajkot which has relatively bigger boundaries and allows the spinners to throw the ball up. India will look towards their tweakers to take them to series parity so that the team can fight it out for a series win at Bengaluru in the final T20.
Predicted Playing XIs
India - Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan
South Africa - Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj/Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
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