Quinton de Kock shapes to reverse-sweep

Agarkar believes all the criticism is a bit too harsh on the youngster (8:47)

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India don"t like to reveal their XIs or their line of thinking, but if there is a time to experiment, it is now. With 25 games to go for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year, they do not want to be caught red faced without a settled No. 4.

Rishabh Pant is the current occupant and his returns have been ordinary - he has seven single-digit scores in his previous 10 T20I innings. Perhaps there is a case to consider Shreyas Iyer there and Pant a spot lower to ease the pressure on him. That means for the moment, with the "fearless v careless" debate gathering momentum with every passing outing, Pant can bat when the team is looking for quick runs without the fear of getting out.


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On the bowling front, the short boundaries could be a temptation to pick an extra seamer - and Khaleel Ahmed could be a candidate if they are thinking on those lines - but since 2018, spinners have conceded fewer runs - 8.1 runs per over to 9.8 of pacers - at this venue. With Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar adding batting depth, why fix something that ain"t broke?

South Africa, meanwhile, don"t have the batsman Bengaluru, and maybe all of India, want to watch, and they"re still grappling with life without AB de Villiers. The 2019 World Cup was simply a teaser, and now with Faf du Plessis also not on tour, a young middle order needs to be backed and persisted with even if it comes at the cost of losing a few games.

Rassie van der Dussen, who was on the A tour, can be steady without being explosive, Temba Bavuma too is largely a technically correct batsman who doesn"t slog. Their challenge is to see how they can best utilise the available resources.

Quinton de Kock shapes to reverse-sweep BCCIIn the spotlight

Rishabh Pant: Rarely in recent times has a player polarised opinions in India as much as Pant has. The talent is undoubted, but his shot selection that has often tended towards the injudicious has invited criticism, even from within the team. Returning to the city of his international debut and playing on a surface that any batsman looking for runs dreams of should encourage him.

Reeza Hendricks: Having let go of the disappointment of the World Cup snub, Hendricks has a chance to prove he can be their go-to opener following Hashim Amla"s retirement. Having been in India with the South Africa A side for close to a month, he"s had good acclimatisation time. In Mohali, he was out to an ugly hoick at mid-on. Sunday is an opportunity to get a score and help his side level the series.

Team news

Krunal Pandya bowled just one over in Mohali, and could make way for Rahul Chahar if India want to give the teenager opportunities.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya/Rahul Chahar, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Washington Sundar, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Navdeep Saini

South Africa didn"t give away much at training, but they could possibly look to bring in Junior Dala, who like Hendricks has been in India for a while and has acclimatised himself well to the conditions.

South Africa (probable): 1 Quinton de Kock (capt & wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 David Miller, 6 Andile Phehlukwayo, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Bjorn Fortuin, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Junior Dala, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

Stats and trivia

Junior Dala has dismissed Rohit Sharma thrice in the seven games they"ve played together.

Legspinners have fared best among all slow bowlers here in all T20s since 2018, picking 34 wickets in 15 matches, with an economy of 7.98

De Kock likes batting here, having made 384 runs in 10 T20 innings, with two half-centuries and a hundred for Delhi Capitals against Royal Challengers BangalorePitch and conditions

There"s good bounce and carry, which makes it easier for batsmen to hit through the line because the ball won"t deck around much. The average first innings score at the IPL this year was 180. Smaller boundaries mean the spinners will face quite a challenge. Should they need tips, Yuzvendra Chahal, not part of the squad, would be the man to dial as he has made a career out of bowling here in the IPL for Royal Challengers.


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"Taking to some of the guys who have played here before it helps. There are many memories from them of watching AB [de Villiers] play here. It is going to be a completely different game to Mohali - where it was a big field and a slower pitch. Over here, there is a higher boundary percentage and it"s a whole new challenge for us." South Africa vice-captain Rassie Van der Dussen on the adjustments his side needs to make at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium

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