Sport

Confident India will look to force the series into the decider

Coaching manual: Dravid
will be eager to help southpaw Pant turn his fortunes around.

Coaching manual: Dravid will be eager to help southpaw Pant turn his fortunes around. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

After producing a clinical performance in the must-win game at Visakhapatnam, India will look to build on the momentum to try and level the series against South Africa in the fourth T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday.

The home team will take a lot of heart from the fact that its bowlers stepped up to the challenge in the previous match with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal finding his mojo.

Attacking approach

Chahal’s attacking approach with more focus on his leg-breaks fetched him three wickets in the middle overs and put the brakes on South Africa’s chase before Harshal Patel cleaned up the lower-order.

On the batting front, openers Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad gave a perfect start with a 97-run stand in 10 overs. But the Men in Blue will also be wary of the fact that they did not finish the innings strongly, scoring only 82 in the second half and almost losing the plot before Hardik Pandya dealt some hefty blows towards the end.

After a cameo in the first match, Rishabh Pant has failed to bring out the fireworks with poor shot selection letting him down.

The team will look to the skipper to deliver the goods in the crunch match.

The pitch in Rajkot has been batting-friendly in the three T20Is played here. But, as in the previous match at Visakhapatnam, India wouldn’t mind a pitch that is on the slower side where its skilful spinners can keep things quiet in the middle phase of the innings.

Even as both sides desperately fight to win the ongoing series, they will also be cognisant of the big picture — using the matches to prepare for the ICC T20 World Cup later in the year in Australia.

The hosts have fielded an unchanged playing eleven in the first three matches but could be tempted to test either left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh or Umran Malik for Avesh Khan who has not picked up a wicket so far.

For South Africa, Quinton de Kock, who missed the last two games due to a wrist injury, practised on Thursday though it remains to be seen if he is match-fit yet.

Despite being outplayed in the third T20I, the visitors will feel confident going into this match as there are no obvious areas of concern.

While the Proteas would want to seal the series here, Pant’s men, facing another must-win contest, have shown they have enough firepower to force the series into a decider.

The stage is set for an exciting encounter.

The teams (from):

India: Rishabh Pant (Capt.), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, and Umran Malik.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (Capt.), Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, Reeza Hendricks, and Tristan Stubbs.

Match starts at 7 p.m.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 1:00:12 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/confident-india-will-look-to-force-the-series-into-the-decider/article65534647.ece