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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

India vs South Africa 3rd T20I: Rishabh Pant reshuffle on the cards

With pressure building on Rishabh Pant after another cheap dismissal in Mohali batting at No 4, the two could be asked to swap batting spots on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Sep 22, 2019 08:25 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Bengaluru
Rishabh Pant seeking advice from India’s batting coach Vikram Rathore.
Rishabh Pant seeking advice from India’s batting coach Vikram Rathore.(AP)
         

India’s top three batsmen will continue to leave the worrying to South Africa’s bowling attack while the hosts themselves could effect a minor tweak by promoting the dependable Shreyas Iyer in the final game of the three-match T20 series at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. Though India have opted for a relatively inexperienced bowling attack for this series as they build up for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, there were no hiccups in notching up a seven-wicket victory at Mohali in the second game after restricting South Africa to a modest score.

The first contest of the three-match series in Dharamsala was washed out. South Africa’s hopes of squaring the series will lie on bringing India’s young bowlers under pressure at a venue that favours batsmen. For India though, Iyer’s current form assures stability in the middle order.

Also read: ‘Can’t believe there is so much talk around Rishabh Pant’: Ex India player

With pressure building on Rishabh Pant after another cheap dismissal in Mohali batting at No 4, the two could be asked to swap batting spots on Sunday.

Praise for Iyer

Shikhar Dhawan, who made 40 as the top three aggregated 124 runs (Virat Kohli 72*, Rohit Sharma 12) chasing 150, praised Iyer for his recent efforts. “As they (selectors) are trying out youngsters it is good to give them a good run. You saw in the last match how Shreyas finished the game. You can see from his body language that he is confident, believes in himself. He is just 24 and is doing it so well; he did it in the West Indies,” Dhawan said at a media conference on Saturday.

“Whatever things we want to achieve in the World Cup, we are going to practice from now. By the time we reach the World Cup, we will make sure we are quite refined. We will know our goals with great clarity,” he said.

Also read: India Predicted XI - Will Virat Kohli make any changes in 3rd T20I?

Kohli followed Sharma’s five centuries in the World Cup with two ODI hundreds in the Caribbean, and in Mohali the India captain struck a sublime half-century to push his average over 50 in all three formats.

Proteas confident

South Africa acknowledged India are indeed very strong, but still fancy their chances of countering the home team’s inexperienced bowling attack on a venue with short boundaries known to favour batsmen. “Definitely that is a big challenge,” said opener Rassie van der Dussen on Saturday when asked about India’s top three batsmen.

“They probably are the best three T20 batters the world has ever seen. Virat and Rohit are two leading run-scorers in the world. It is a great challenge for our young bowlers to bowl to these guys.

“Under the new coach Enoch Nkwe the emphasis has been on … we have got a young squad, but we are coming here to win and compete. We are not going to stand back for anyone. We knew India is one of the strongest teams in the world. We have got one more chance to level the series here,” he said.

Inexperienced

“They (India bowlers) are inexperienced in terms of international cricket but we all know they are quite experienced in terms of T20 cricket.

Especially in home conditions, the guys know how to bowl, much like when you come to South Africa our guys would know how to bowl in our conditions. But it is something we can target, it is an area where we are looking to put pressure on them.”

Although South Africa are still finding their feet, India will have to be wary of their record at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. In four T20 Internationals, India have only two wins, one over Bangladesh by a solitary run in the 2016 World T20. The second win was against England, by 75 runs.

India are expected to continue backing Pant, but a failure here will put a question mark on the wicketkeeper-batsman’s spot in the team after being backed strongly as Dhoni’s replacement.

With Kohli stating recently that players should not take more than four-five matches to prove themselves, Sunday’s contest could be the toughest one yet for Pant.

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 08:25 IST

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