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India vs South Africa: Buoyant India look to force decider, focus on Rishabh Pant’s batting in 4th T20I

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India will look to force a decider when they meet South Africa in the 4th of an ongoing 5-match T20I series in Rajkot on Friday, June 16. The hosts bounced back on Monday in Visakhapatnam, hammering South Africa by 46 runs to keep the series alive as they had gone 0-2 down after losing the first two matches of the hard-fought series.

India will head into the Rajkot T20I with a lot more confidence as their bowling attack, which looked ordinary in the firs two T20Is, stepped up and delivered big, helping the team bowl out South Africa for 131 in 19.1 overs after they posted 179 on the board.

While Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the stand-out bowler for India, the return of form for Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal will come as a big boost to Rishabh Pant’s men. The team management fielded an unchanged XI despite the first two defeats and the big guns stepped up and delivered. Chahal, who looked ordinary in the first two matches, picked up 3/30 while Harshal picked up a 4-wicket haul.

India vs South Africa, T20I series: Full coverage

Another big plus for India from the Vizag T20I is Ruturaj Gaikwad’s return to form. The young Chennai Super Kings opener, who struggled to get going in New Delhi and Cuttack, hit a quickfire fifty. On the other hand, Ishan Kishan has been in fine form, scoring 164 runs in just 3 matches — a consistent run that has helped him break into the top 10 of ICC Rankings.

CAN SKIPPER PANT FIRE?

However, the focus will be on skipper Pant, who has struggled with the bat even as questions are being asked about his exploits in the shortest format of the game at the highest level. Pant has been a stand-out peformer for India in Tests but his T20I numbers — 773 runs, including just 3 fifties, in 46 matches is far from impressive.

Pant has managed just 34 runs across 3 matches in the ongoing T20I series, throwing his wicket away on a couple of occasions. Pant has been caught in the deep multiple times in the series trying to reach for the ball when it is not there in his hitting zone.

The skipper will be under pressure but Ruturaj and Ishan going well at the top and Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik doing the finisher’s role to good effect will provide Pant some breather.

India are unlikely to tinker with a winning unit but Avesh Khan, who is yet to pick up a wicket in the series, might make way for either Arshdeep Singh or Umran Malik. However, going by coach Rahul Dravid’s stress on consistency, India might give Avesh another go, especially in the crunch 4th T20I.

DE KOCK BOOST FOR SA?

Meanwhile, South Africa will look to get the job done in Rajkot and not leave it to the end in the ongoing T20I series. It’s a great opportunity for Temba Bavuma’s men to put pressure on India and walk away with a series win in one of the toughest places to tour.

The return of Quinton de Kock, who was seen hitting the nets, after recovering from a hand injury will be a big boost as Reeza Hendricks has been struggling at the top.

The focus will once again be on in-form David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen but Bavuma will hope their spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj return to their miserly ways.

India vs South Africa, 4th T20I SQUADS

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

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



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