A young Indian cricket team, led by Rishabh Pant, riding high on back-to-back wins over South Africa in the five-match T20I series, will aim for a brilliant series win when it gets down to action in Bengaluru on Sunday. After being comprehensively beaten by the Temba Bavuma-led visitors in the first two matches, India rode on some spirited showing from the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Avesh Khan among others to restore parity in the series. With a couple of key members of the South African team nursing injuries, India will fancy their chances in the final T20I.
However, the Rishabh Pant-led Indian cricket team faces a few concerns going into the deciding fifth and final T20I.
1. Hardik Pandya’s bowling issues continue
After recovering from injury, all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s bowling has always been under the scrutiny. He shared the new ball responsibilities with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the fourth T20I and returned with figures of 0/12 in one over.
In the ongoing series, Pandya has not taken any wicket and is the most expensive bowler with an economy of 12.20 RPO. Notably, Pandya last took a wicket in T20Is in July 2021, against Sri Lanka at Colombo (RPS). Pandya’s unimpressive bowling has been going on since the last two years in T20Is. He has had 8 wicketless innings out of 11 since 2020 in the format.
In addition, Pandya has the third worst bowling strike-rate (42.0) among 106 bowlers from Test playing nations who have bowled 25 or more overs in T20Is. However, Pandya took eight wickets in the IPL 2022 from 30.3 overs across 10 innings.
2. Quinton de Kock’s record in Bengaluru
South African opener Quinton de Kock has an impressive record in T20s in Bengaluru with 463 runs from 11 matches at an average of 46.30. He has a strike-rate of 147.45 and has hit one century and three fifties. India’s Yuzvendra Chahal is the most successful bowler at the venue across T20s with 57 wickets. Spinners have a distinct advantage in Bengaluru in T20Is. Compared to pacers (SR 21), spinners have a strike-rate of 20.2 in Bengaluru.
In the ongoing series, however, de Kock has scored only 36 runs in two matches. Chahal, on the other hand, has taken six wickets in four matches in the series so far.
3. History stands against India
The last time the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru hosted a T20I match was in September 2019, when India clashed against South Africa. In that match, India scored only 134/9 in 20 overs batting first. In reply, the Proteas reached the target in just 16.5 overs with de Kock scoring 79 not out off 52 balls.
Bengaluru has hosted a total of seven T20Is from 2012 to 2019. Only twice, teams batting first have won and while the remaining five times, teams chasing won.
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