India vs South Africa 1st T20I Preview: Suresh Raina in Focus as India Aim to Continue Winning Momentum

 India vs South Africa 1st T20I Preview 2018

India, who will be high on confidence after the demolishing South Africa in the ODIs, will be aiming to continue their good form and tighten the noose around the struggling hosts when they square off in a three-match T20 series, starting from February 18.

The defeat in the Test series now seems to be a story of a distant past and having created history by thrashing South Africa 5-1 in the ODI series, the Virat Kohli-led India will aim to repeat similar performance as they did in the 2006 one-off T20I series against the Proteas. The last time both the teams met for a bilateral series, India clinched a six-wicket victory over South Africa under Virender Sehwag.

However, this time, bolstered by terrific all-around performances led by skipper Kohli, who was adjudged the Man of the Series in the recently concluded ODI series, India will hope to thrash the hosts in the three-match series.

Alongside the skipper, batsmen Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya will look to make the most of their capabilities in the shortest format.

Also, batsman Suresh Raina, who has made a comeback in the T20Is will act as a vital cog in the middle-order and will look to prove his mettle. Raina’s return is the most intriguing aspect of the T20 series from an Indian point of view. He hasn’t played ODI cricket since 2015, and last featured in a T20I series twelve months ago against England, where he scored 104 runs in three matches, inclusive of a half-century.

However, the southpaw has been in great form lately as he finished sixth in the runs’ chart (314 runs in 9 matches inclusive of one hundred and two half-centuries) for Uttar Pradesh during the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Also, if Raina walks back into the playing XI then his performances will be keenly noted, given that India will also play a T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka later in March.

Meanwhile, India’s bowling department, which looked lethal with wrist-spinning duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will try to make a mark in the shortest format.

Pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will only add depth to the formidable Indian bowling line-up.

However, the Proteas led by Jean-Pau Duminy in the absence of Faf du Plessis, will look to hit back at India in the shortest format of the game, under the likes of hard-hitting batsmen consisting the skipper himself, AB de Villiers, David Miller and Chris Morris, who can score some vital runs in the lower order.

The bowling department, led by Andile Phehlukwayo, Morris along with chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi will have to come out with something special in order to get rid of the flamboyant Indian batsmen.

Meanwhile, the three new faces included for the shortest format - batsman Christiaan Jonker, pacer Junior Dala and wicketkeeper - batsman Heinrich Klaasen will be aiming to put up a show for the home team.


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

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


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