After losing the first two matches of the five-match T20I series, Team India bounced back beautifully to beat the high-flying Proteas in the third game to stay alive in the contest. It was a clinical show from the Rishabh Pant-led team, who first posted a total of 179/5 on the board before bundling out the Proteas for 131 runs. While Ruturaj Gaikwad (57 off 35), Ishan Kishan (54 off 35) and Hardik Pandya (31 not out off 21) shone with the bat in the first half of the match, it was Harshal Patel (4/25) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/20) who hogged the limelight with the ball.
With an eye to level the series, India seek another win when the two teams meet next for the fourth T20I in Rajkot on Friday. On the other hand, the Proteas would be aiming to seal the series.
Here’s what we think should be India’s playing XI for the fourth T20I against South Africa:
Ishan Kishan: The southpaw is on song in the ongoing T20I series. He is the top scorer with 164 runs to his credit from the first three matches. Kishan has hit two half-centuries in the series so far.
Ruturaj Gaikwad: Registering scores of 23 and 1 in the first two games didn’t present a good case for Gaikwad but the batter’s dominating 57 off 35, which also happens to be his first international fifty, has turned the tables in his favour.
Shreyas Iyer: The right-handed batter has got good starts in the series so far but he has failed to take his innings deep. With someone like an in-form Deepak Hooda warming the benches, Iyer would be keen to perform better in the fourth T20I.
Rishabh Pant: While on the captaincy front stand-in skipper Pant has been good, he has failed to impress as a batter. The last two matches have seen him registering single-digit scores. He will be looking to play an impactful knock in the next match.
Hardik Pandya: While on the batting front Hardik Pandya has played well down the order, the all-rounder has failed as a bowler in the series. Given the way South African batters have performed in the series so far, India need Hardik to make noticeable contributions with the ball as well.
Dinesh Karthik: Coming on the back of a superb IPL 2022 season, Karthik has been decent in the limited batting opportunities he has got so far in the series. However, keeping the 2022 T20 World Cup in mind, the in-form batter needs some more game time against a quality team like South Africa.
Axar Patel: The southpaw has had a mediocre series so far, but given that he is the only left-arm spinner in the current Indian team, Axar is expected to play all the games in the series. He performed well in the third T20I by returning figures of 1/28 in four overs.
Harshal Patel: The right-arm pacer started the series on a disappointing note (1/43 in four overs) but a good comeback from him in the past two games has provided good support to the Indian pace department spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Harshal has returned 1/17 and 4/25 in the second and third T20Is respectively.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Like Harshal, Bhuvneshwar too started the series on a poor note (1/43 in four overs), but he registered a four-wicket haul in the second T20I and followed it up with an economical spell in the third game. He and Harshal are the highest wicket-takers in the series so far with six scalps each to their names.
Arshdeep Singh: A poor outing from Avesh Khan is likely to take him out of India’s playing XI. Arshdeep Singh seems to be the top contender for the spot as his pin-point yorkers and impressive economy rate are something that India badly need at the moment.
Yuzvendra Chahal: After taking a beating from the South African batters in the first two matches matches of the series, Chahal finally seems to be back to his usual form. The street-smart leggie returned figures of 3/20 in the third T20I against South Africa and won the Player of the Match award.
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