Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are expected to spit fire on a court that will offer a pronounced rebound as India’s top order prepares for its toughest test in adverse conditions against a top-tier South African side in the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
In all likelihood, the match will decide the top of Group 2 and the probable semi-final venue of India.
WACA has been the traditional venue for many decades, but now the newly built concrete jungle called Optus Stadium hosts the international games.
While it looks like any other modern cricket stadium devoid of WACA’s old world charm, what is similar to both grounds is the racy nature of their pitch and the good bounce on offer that could make life difficult for batsmen.
Against this backdrop, Rabada and Nortje, two of the world’s most fearsome speed dealers, are expected to pose some tough questions to Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav.
While Rabada will bowl fill and bowl close and spin at 145 clicks out, expect Nortje to mix it up with long back or hard lengths at 150+ speed.
Both Rohit and Virat are fabulous horizontal hitters and Powerplay overs will have to do with how well the best hand-eye coordination works.
The extra pace off the pitch will give batsmen a fraction of a second less time to react and it will be interesting to see what the Indian batsmen’s approach will be.
Will they start attacking from the word ‘go’ or as has been the trend in this T20 World Cup, play the first 10 overs cautiously and attack back to the opposition during the back-10s?
While the lefty Rishabh Pant with his bold striking play would have been a nice foil for Rohit at the top of the order, it is understood that head coach Rahul Dravid, at the moment, does not want to look further than an out of bounds. play. Raul way.
The other alternative to include Pant is to remove Dinesh Karthik, whose performance in both matches has been subpar.
The Netherlands match is not a good enough indicator to know how well the Indian team is prepared for the Proteas test.
The last series between the two sides was played in low-rebounding Indian belts, in which, hitting across the line and hitting with your front foot were meat and drink for the batsmen.
As far as South Africa’s bowling mix is concerned, it won’t be surprising if they remove the left-arm wrist-spinning Tabraiz Shamsi and include an extra closer in Marco Jansen or Lungi Ngidi.
The Indian team have played Shamsi comfortably in the past and two spinners in the Optus could be a luxury unless they are looking to speed up the surcharge.
Playing the winning combination is not advisable, but with three in-form lefties in Quinton de Kock, Rilee Rossouw and David Miller in South Africa’s top six, Axar Patel’s recent clashes will certainly be in the spotlight when discussing the combination. of the team. .
Axar’s economy rate as he bowls left-handers in close to 9 runs for more and with Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI, it will be a cover for the left-arm spinner from Gujarat.
Also Hardik Pandya in that case could play his full quota unless India thinks of playing Yuzvendra Chahal instead of Axar.
But in that case, they will have to somehow get a lefty pant on the side instead of Rahul.
Also being the only left-handed batsman on the wing (apart from Pant) is also an advantage for Axar.
The only problem in the South African first order is their captain Temba Bavuma, whose game does not suit the needs of T20 cricket and looks completely out of place.
However, with two of the most exciting players in Tristan Stubbs and Rossouw, South Africa will have an advantage over India’s bowling attack, where only Mohammed Shami has the ability to bowl north of 140kmph.
Rossouw will go into the match with the rarest of the rare hundreds of consecutive T20Is (the only other being Frenchman Gustav McKeon) and will be the biggest threat to the Indian bowlers.
Adelaide will be India’s semi-final destination if they beat South Africa on Sunday and then beat Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the next two games.
The top of the Group plays in Adelaide on November 10.
However, India may end up traveling to Sydney even after topping Group 2 should Australia finish as Group 1 runners-up and sneak into the semi-finals. Their fixed place for the semifinal is due to a pre-tournament agreement.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (week), Rishabh Pant (week), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Rilee Rossouw, Tristan Stubbs, Kagiso Rabada, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi
Match Start: 4:30pm IST.
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