India and the Proteas will start an important T20I series in Dharamsala on Sunday. The three matches will feature five intriguing head-to-head tussles.
Virat Kohli vs Tabraiz Shamsi
- The absence of the veteran Imran Tahir has thrust left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi to the fore of the slow-bowling resources. He failed to take a wicket in four World Cup matches earlier this year – and was part of Hampshire’s T20 Blast campaign earlier this month. India’s batsmen, especially captain Virat Kohli, have had plenty of practice against left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav and will almost certainly target Shamsi.
Shikhar Dhawan vs George Linde
- Dhawan and Linde were opponents during the recent limited-overs series between India A and South Africa A. The latter has since been added to the Proteas’ squad as a replacement for the unfit Jon-Jon Smuts. Linde took Dhawan’s wicket in Thiruvananthapuram and a probable rematch awaits in Dharamsala and beyond.
Lokesh Rahul vs Andile Phehlukwayo
- Rahul is currently placed seventh in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for T20I batsmen, while Phehlukwayo occupies ninth position on the bowling table. The introduction of Phehlukwayo as a first-change tactic will be particularly key if the new-ball bowlers haven’t been able to remove Rahul early at the top of the order.
Rohit Sharma vs Kagiso Rabada
- The last time India and South Africa met for a T20I in Dharamsala, Sharma struck a century against a visiting bowling attack spearheaded by Rabada, who proved relatively economical but failed to take a wicket. Sharma has been named in India’s squad for October’s Test series against the Proteas, too, and this battle with Rabada in the shortest format will probably set an early precedent for the longest.
Quinton de Kock vs Hardik Pandya
- De Kock and Pandya are teammates at the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. Their franchise friendship will be put aside in this international divide. De Kock has been handed the captaincy in the absence of batsman Faf du Plessis and can’t have the additional responsibility negatively affect a primary role with the bat.
Temba Bavuma vs Washington Sundar
- Bavuma has largely been pigeonholed as a Test-match cricketer, but has been afforded the opportunity to showcase T20 credentials against India. Earlier this month, he captained South Africa A against India A, who relished the services of 19-year-old off-spinner Washington Sundar. They will face each other again.
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