India will go into the first game as favourites    Getty Images
India will go into the first game as favourites Getty Images

India and South Africa will take on each other in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) of a three match series at Dharamsala. India will go into the match as marginal favourites, especially after South Africa were edged out by an India ‘A’ team in a warm up fixture. The match will be the first on a two-month long tour which will see the teams play for the first time under the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela title. The T20I leg of the series will be followed by the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Tests. SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 1st T20I at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala

South Africa’s focus will be to put the defeat against the second-string India team behind them and mentally ready themselves for the bigger challenge that lies ahead. India will be happy to think that they have South Africa on the backfoot even before the first ball is bowled, but over-reliance on that could prove to be their own downfall.

Both teams have solid batting lineups and the bowlers are of high-quality too. South Africa’s batsmen will benefit from the fact that they6 have mostly had a lot of experience in Indian conditions owing to their participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the same can’t be said about most of their bowlers. However they may have got a measure of what to expect in Indian conditions after the first game. The conditions at Dharamsala will also afford them a bit more support.

Squads:

India: MS Dhoni (c&wk), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Akshar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Sreenath Aravind.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Albie Morkel and Khaya Zondo.