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After recording a comprehensive win the first T20I of the three-match series, India were widely tipped to win the second game in Centurion and take an unassailable 2-0 lead against South Africa. Contrary to expectations, the Proteas managed to bounce back in style and leveled the series 1-1 to setup a mouth-watering series finale in the 3rd T20I in Cape Town on Saturday (February 24). On that note, we look at the predicted XI line-ups for both teams.
Had they won the Centurion T20I, captain Virat Kohli and the Indian team management had a chance of experimenting with their lineup and give the fringe players a chance to impress in the final game of the series. It wasn’t to be and the Indians are likely to go in with their best eleven so as to win the series and finish the long South African sojourn on a high.
South Africa, on the other hand, registered a much needed win and kept their hopes of winning the T20 series alive. A new-look Proteas side, led by JP Duminy, will be hoping to put their best foot forward in the third match and go head to head with the Indians.
South Africa v India, 3rd T20I: Predicted XI line-ups.
India Predicted XI for 3rd T20I:
Barring his match-winning century in the 5th ODI on February 13 in Port Elizabeth, Rohit Sharma has endured a torrid time out in the Rainbow nation. The Mumbai Indians skipper has also failed to deliver in the first two matches of the T20I series and will be hoping to make up for it by playing a solid knock at the top of the order in the series finale on Saturday.
Unlike Rohit, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has well and truly redeemed himself in the limited-overs leg of this tour and has been India’s best batsman on show after captain Virat Kohli. After scoring an important fifty in the first T20I, Dhawan was also quick to get off the blocks in his second outing in the series before miscuing a full toss and throwing his wicket away. The Delhi southpaw will once again be an important cog in India’s wheel in the third and final match of this series.
Being given the chance to play his natural game at the crucial No.3 spot, Raina has only shown glimpses of what he is capable doing in the T20 format in the first two matches of the series so far. The veteran left-hander has been a live wire in the field for India and has been electric with his deep fielding skills in the death overs. The Uttar Pradesh-skipper will be itching to play a game-changing innings on Saturday and justify his selection in the Indian team.
Virat Kohli (c)
After four sublime centuries in the Test and ODI legs of this tour, skipper Virat Kohli has looked a bit jaded in the T20I series and is believed to be carrying a few niggles. The Indian run-machine has given up his preferred No.3 slot to the returning Suresh Raina and clearly hasn’t been at his best while batting in the middle-order. Nevertheless, come the third T20I, Kohli will aim for one final flourish and this tour on a winning note.
Having been made to warm the bench in the six-match ODI series, Manish Pandey has come across as India’s best batsman in the T20I series and was particularly impressive in the Centurion game, albeit in a losing cause. The Karnataka-batsman will be hoping to carry his form in the series decider on Saturday in a bid to seal a permanent place in India’s limited-overs sides.
MS Dhoni (wk)
After a lukewarm outing in the series opener in Johannesburg, MS Dhoni rolled back the years and made his way to an exhilarating half-century in the second T20I. The former captain was in vintage Dhoni mode and was instrumental in India being able to post a 180+ score in the match. There is no doubting Dhoni’s glovework and ability behind the wickets but it was his batting in Centurion that must have warmed the hearts of millions of Indian fans who will be hoping for more of the same from the legendary gloveman.
After a scintillating start with the bat in the first Test in Cape Town, Hardik Pandya has clearly felt the weight of the all-rounder’s tag on this tour and has failed to impress in the limited-overs leg of this long tour. The Mumbai Indians-star has long been touted as the first genuine all-rounder to emerge out of India after the retirement of the great Kapil Dev and will have to put up a much better show in the T20I series finale is he is keep that reputation intact.
Had India won the second T20I in Centurion, Bhuvneshwar Kumar might have been rested for the third game on Saturday. But with the series in balance, Bhuvi will once again be out on the field as the spearhead of India’s young attack and hope to swing the match in his team’s favour. The king of swing picked up a rare five-wicket haul in the first match of the series and captain Virat Kohli will be looking forward to more of the same from his premier bowler. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is added to the predicted XI for 3rd T20I in Cape Town.
After sitting out of the first two games due to an injury, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is expected to be back to bolster India’s bowling attack for the all-important 3rd T20I and dominate the South African batsmen for one final time on this tour. The young spin wizard was the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded six-match ODI series and his inclusion will certainly boost India’s bowling attack for the series decider.
Having gone for 64 runs in his quota of 4 overs in the second game of the series, Yuzvendra Chahal will be itching to make amends and bring an end to what has been an extremely successful tour for him. The wily leg-spinner was surprisingly taken to the cleaners by the Proteas’ wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen in Centurion but is expected to be handy and his usual efficient self on a dry Cape Town wicket in the final match of the series. Hence, Chahal is added to the predicted XI line-up for India for the 3rd T20I.
After missing the last game due to a minor niggle, we count Jasprit Bumrah back in the Predicted XI, as he will also return for the 3rd T20I to bolster India’s bowling attack. The recently crowned No. 1 ODI bowler has been among the best bowlers on show in all three formats on this long-drawn tour and will certainly hope to finish the T20I series on a winning note.
South Africa Predicted XI for 3rd T20I
Reeza Hendricks, JJ Smuts, JP Duminy (c), Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi