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India vs South Africa: Focus on Rishabh Pant captaincy as India look to bounce back in 2nd T20I in Cuttack

India will look to level the series when they host South Africa in the 2nd T20I in Cuttack on Sunday, June 12. The hosts were outclassed by 7 wickets in the series opener in New Delhi by the visitors, who look solid to test the former world champions in their own backyard.

India, incidentally, have not won a match against South Africa in 6 attempts in 2022 after having lost 2 Tests and 3 ODIs earlier this year in the Rainbow Nation. It will be a big test of character for Rishabh Pant as he leads India out in the 2nd T20I as the stand-in captain will be under a bit of pressure.

Pant’s captaincy was questioned after defeat in the New Delhi T20I. His handling of bowlers, especially Yuzvendra Chahal, has been scrutinized as India failed to defend a total of 211. It was the first time India had not defended a total in excess of 200 in T20I cricket as South Africa scripted their highest-ever T20I run-chase.

IND vs SA, 2nd T20I Predicted XIs

Notably, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen stitched an unbeaten 131-run stand as India ran out of plans while defending a mammoth total. Miller and van der Dussen tore into the bowling attack as they scored in excess of 120 runs in the last 10 overs.

Chahal was brought into the attack in the powerplay, which is not where he has been used to bowling. And the senior leg-spinner, who finished with the Purple Cap in IPL 2022, was given only 2.1 overs even as fellow spinner, Axar Patel was taken to the cleaners.

“Rishabh Pant is a young captain, he will learn and hopefully he will get better. Now, if Dravid feels that Chahal should bowl an over, obviously a message can be sent. They have to keep things simple and be proactive. It is very surprising to me that a bowler like him only bowled 2 overs today,” former India pacer and Gujarat Titans head coach, Ashish Nehra had told Cricbuzz.

Pant’s captaincy also came under the scanner during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 wherein Delhi Capitals missed out on a playoffs berth despite having fate in their own hands during a tense race for the final 4 spots.


However, Pant, who was named the stand-in captain after KL Rahul’s injury on the eve of the series, has the backing of the dressing room. The young skipper will certainly learn from the first T20I and improve, senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said.

“Rishabh Pant is a young captain, it was his first game. It happens with everyone. I am sure he will try to do better in the next games. It is up to the team on how the captain looks. We did not bowl well, every decision he takes and if it brings about a wicket, everyone hails the call but if it goes the other way, people criticise,” Bhuvneshwar said on the eve of the 2nd T20I in Cuttack.

India will also look to improve their bowling effort and the typical slow nature of the pitch in Cuttack should help the spinners. Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar will look to bounce back from their forgettable outing in New Delhi as India will look to choke South Africa with spin.

On the other hand, David Miller will continue to be the biggest threat for India, considering his glowing form which he has carried forward from his Gujarat Titans campaign in IPL 2022. Quinton de Kock missed out in the first T20I and the senior wicketkeeper-batter will be looking to make amends while Rassie van der Dussen will look to continue the run-scoring ways.

For India, the focus will be on the top-order, especially after the slow start that Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan managed. Ishan managed to accelerate in the second half of his innings but India would want the openers to be more proactive in the powerplay.

It’s unlikely that both teams will make changes to their playing XIs. Despite the defeat in the first T20I, India are likely to stick to the same playing XI.

IND vs SA, 2nd 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, Aiden Markram, 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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