In the fourth T20I held at Rajkot, India provided its most complete performance of the five-match series, backing up a solid middle-order batting performance with bowling which blew away the South African batting, routing them and ensuring an 82-run victory.
Having gone through the first four matches of the series unchanged, India will look to reward the players on show and allow them a shot at securing a famous come-from-behind victory in Bangalore on Sunday.
While there are still some question marks over the form of batters such as Shreyas Iyer, a last-minute change could upset the balance and rhythm that Rishabh Pant’s side have created for themselves in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot. The batting unit hasn’t clicked as one since the first T20I, but coach Rahul Dravid will be secure in the knowledge that the form of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik ensures they will remain in the contest.
It might also serve as the last opportunity for Iyer to stake a claim in the side for the World Cup later this year, and spur him towards a big performance when his team requires it the most.
Avesh Khan silenced his doubters with a four-wicket spell in Rajkot, carrying out his duties as well as he could have and wrapping up an early victory for India. On a pitch which typically supports pace and bounce, Avesh could ride the wave of confidence and prove to be an x-factor at the Chinnaswamy.
Harshal Patel has also found his groove, showing a superb understanding of what he needs to do to extract the most from the pitch on offer. Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal were once again miserly and dangerous, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be asked to lead the attack once again.
India’s Predicted XI for 5th T20I:
Openers: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan
Middle-order: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c), Hardik Pandya
Power-hitters: Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik
Spinners: Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal
Fast bowlers: Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan
India Predicted XI for 5th T20I vs South Africa: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan