SA vs IND || Suryakumar-led India look to pull one back at the Wanderers

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Image: BCCI). Will Suryakumar once again make an impact?

There is an old-world charm about Port Elizabeth or the Gqeberha cricket stadium. There is the signature brass band playing music for the duration of the game. The venue also hosted the first-ever Test match outside of Australia and England in 1888-89. But there was nothing old-world about the second India-South Africa T20I played on Thursday. 

India scored 180 in 19.3 overs before rain made its presence felt. The home side then chased down the revised target of 152 with more than an over to spare to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The first game in Durban was washed out due to rain. For the visitors, Suryakumar Yadav, the captain, and Rinku Singh once more excelled in their respective roles. 

However, the opening pair of Shubman Gill and Yaishwal Jaiswal were dismissed for no scores. Jitesh Sharma, the middle-order bat, also couldn’t fire. On the other hand, the pace duo of Mukesh Kumar and Arshdeep Singh gave away 65 runs in just five overs. The spinners too didn’t make an impact on what was expected to be a track on the slower side. 

In their defence, the white Kookaburra ball would have picked up enough dirt/moisture because of the wet outfield, making it difficult for the bowlers to grip. The think-tank would hope for a better performance from the bowling unit in the crucial third game at the Wanderers, Johannesburg. India also have to look at employing a few overs from part-timers as they build up to the ICC T20 World Cup.

Meanwhile, the South African backroom staff would be pleased with how Reeza Hendricks went about playing with freedom. Aiden Markram and Matthew Breetzke, the debutant, also played a volley of shots in their respective brief stays at the crease. South Africa, though, would be a touch concerned about the inexperienced seam attack, which came under some pressure. So, Nandre Burger, the left-arm pace bowler, could get a look in at the ‘Bullring’. Burger does have a fine inswinger in his armour. 

Time and Venue details- December 14th, Wanderers, 5 PM local

Expected Conditions-  For a limited overs game, the pitch is set to be good for batting. Incidentally, in the last five T20Is played at this ground, at least one team has posted a 180 plus score in four of them.

Possible XIs


Despite the setback in the second game, India are set to play the same team. Ravi Bishnoi is an option in the spin department. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav(c), Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav/Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar

South Africa

The home side will tinker the bowling line-up with a change or two as Coetzee and Jansen aren’t part of the squad for the final game.

Matthew Breetzke, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram(c), Heinrich Klaasen(w), David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Baartman, Lizaad Williams, Burger, Tabraiz Shamsi

Interesting match-up

Rinku Singh v Aiden Markram: On the face of it, Rinku would be holding all the aces. But Rinku did have his issues while trying to reverse sweep Markram in the previous game. Markram’s ability to keep it simple –  zooming the ball on the stumps from round the wicket – could again cause Rinku some headaches.

Teams speak

“Rob has made the environment a lot more relaxed. He has made the guys be themselves. We are human beings. He has let us have bad days. He has allowed our families in. A lot of the guys are husbands and fathers, so that’s important. That happiness that the guys have makes us play better,” Shamsi.

“For every series, I was preparing for the conditions. If you see, West Indies was a bit on the slower side, and if you see Ireland, [the pitches] were similar to South Africa wickets, it was a bit bouncy and seaming a bit. We were preparing according to the [conditions] and we are India. So, it has been a great experience and great learning,” Tilak Varma.


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