India-South Africa Playing XI tip-off: Pant, Arshdeep likely to step in for Pandya and Bhuvneshwar

India bested Australia 2-1 in the three-match T20I series at home ahead of the World Cup next month. A win against the defending champions will indeed be a big plus for India going into the main event in October but it did expose their bowling attack, especially in the death overs. Issues they will look to address in the final three T20Is against South Africa at home before flying for Australia.

There are a couple of changes in the squad with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya among those rested. The Indian Express argues for the inclusion of Rishabh Pant and Arshdeep Singh into the lineup instead of the two who featured in the last T20I against Australia.

Pant in for Pandya 

Since 2021, Rishabh Pant has played the second most T20Is for India, 31. But the southpaw, who has struggled to score big for India in the format for some time now, didn’t bat a single delivery in the three T20Is against Australia, starting in the lineup only once. Dinesh Karthik’s finishing prowess meant that place in the lineup was further questioned. Hardik Pandya being rested for the South Africa series opens up a place in the playing XI that would most likely be utilised by the keeper batter. The World Cup clock is clicking louder than ever and now would be the perfect time for Pant to score and earn his place in a largely right-handed batting lineup. The management are likely to play him in all three matches.

Arshdeep steps in for Bhuvneshwar

India leaked big in the final five over slot vs Australia. The comeback of Harshal Patel and even Jasprit Bumrah made little difference as Australia finished big in all three T20Is. The hosts would hope Arshdeep Singh is the answer to their concerns as the left-arm seamer makes a comeback into the squad against South Africa. The 23-year-old is likely to occupy two of the final five overs quota given his knack to concede very less in the final overs. Since making his debut for India on the tour of England earlier this summer, Arshdeep has picked 14 wickets in 11 matches, boasting an economy rate of 7.38. Apart from the numbers, Arsdeep also adds variety of a left armer in a full fledged right-arm pace attack.

Rabada and Bavuma back in for South Africa

It’s been close to two months since South Africa played their last T20I, against Ireland. A two T20I series that was missing captain Temba Bavuma as well as Kagiso Rabada in the playing XI. And so with even less time left in the T20 World Cup, the Proteas will be led by Temba Bavuma for the three T20Is in India and are expected to start leader of the pace attack, Kagiso Rabada in all three matches. While Rabada is an automatic choice for the new ball bowler, it will be between Anrich Nortje and Wayne Parnell that South Africa shuffle in the powerplay overs.

Predicted Playing XIs:

India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh

South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma (c), Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje

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