Suresh Raina and Reeza Hendricks © Getty Images
Suresh Raina and Reeza Hendricks © Getty Images

Suresh Raina batted as if it was his last shot at the 2019 World Cup. Coming down the track and whacking it over deep mid-wicket is a familiar sight. The picture looks ugly but the sound of bat meeting ball is music to the ears. He did it again, only this time he had to adjust his bat swing and heave it over covers. Expect nothing less in the second T20I. He may throw away his wicket and you may criticise him for not being focused, but that is how he plays.

India, however, were lucky that Shikhar Dhawan switched his destructive mode on when they lost 3 wickets. Amidst Rohit Sharma’s pulling, Raina’s walloping, and Virat Kohli’s driving, there was Dhawan flicking and scything with abundance. The outcome was a delightful knock of 72 runs off 39 balls.

For South Africa, Reeza Hendricks showed the dispirited South Africans how to fight in a battle despite being wounded. Although his team lost, his innings came as a saving grace. Barring his 70 and Farhaan Behardien’s 39, there was nothing for the home crowd to relish. Their bowling, too, was a reflection of their ODI performances. India, on the other hand, had the services of the ever-improving Bhuvneshwar Kumar and his knuckleball. His last, a 3-wicket over, help him better his career-best to 5 for 24, making him the first Indian to take a five-wicket haul across formats.

Game plan

One more win and India will end the limited-overs leg with a win. Things have changed dramatically since their historic win in the Johannesburg Test, so much so that the talks of India squandering in the first 2 Tests are no longer entertained.

They won’t change the winning combination, unless the SuperSport Park continues being slow like it was in the second and sixth ODIs and Kuldeep Yadav is in the pink of his fitness.

Likely XI for India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.

South Africa cannot take the risk of changing their batting unit. They need to back their newcomers, have faith in them. However, there are chances of Aaron Phangiso replacing Tabraiz Shamsi, although the Chinaman bowler dismissed that goodness-knows-what Kohli by sliding one quicker into his defence.

Likely XI for South Africa: Reeza Hendricks, JJ Smuts, JP Duminy (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi/Aaron Phangiso.

Pitch and conditions

Thundershowers may delay the match, which means that the Indian spectators will have to delay their bed time as well. Nonetheless, in the two ODIs played here, the spinners took 11 wickets. In that case, India will be praying for Kuldeep’s recovery. Unadkat’s off-cutters, though, aren’t any less lethal.

In all, the groundsmen will look to make amends and slightly change the nature of the pitch, so it benefits the home team.

Quote unquote

“As players and as senior batters we have to take responsibility for that, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror, ask how we can improve and get better. Hopefully that improves come Wednesday.” — JP Duminy.

Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Akshar Patel, Shardul Thakur.

South Africa: JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Aaron Phangiso, Christiaan Jonker.

TIME: 21.30 IST | 16:00 GMT