Photo Credit: ICC
The Proteas begin their final T20 International (T20I) series before next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup by facing India in the first of three matches at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
The games offer head coach Mark Boucher his last chance to fine tune the squad and test out combinations ahead of the month-long T20 spectacle in Australia.
Speaking ahead of the opening game, captain Temba Bavuma was predicting an evenly contested contest between the two teams.
“We’re expecting it to be a good series, a competitive one, as it always is when we play India,” he told the media on Tuesday. “The last time we were here, we were tested and challenged in all departments of our game and I think we answered those challenges quite well. So I expect a good, strong and competitive series.”
The Proteas have been on an upward trajectory in the game’s shortest format, winning five out of their last six bilateral series – the sixth one being a tied 2-2 scoreline against the same opponents in the sub-continent earlier this year.
Bavuma said he was pleased with their overall progress as a team in 20-over cricket, adding that this final series was a chance to ensure all their preparations we finalised ahead of their World Cup opener against a still to be determined opponent in Hobart on 24 October.
“This will be our last series before the World Cup and we’ll be looking to plug any gaps we feel that are there,” the skipper explained. “We have guys who have been playing a lot of cricket and I guess we will be managing their intensity.
“We also have guys who need some cricket under their belts. It will be to give those guys some game time because this is our last preparation in different conditions compared to Australia but still match time nevertheless.”
Like South Africa, India too will be using the series for any final experimentation ahead of the World Cup. The hosts are coming off a 2-1 series win over Australia which ended on Sunday, a sequence of games that saw the return to form of some of their big gun players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Bavuma added: “Those are names with big pedigree behind them. As you would have seen in the last while their confidence has boosted the performances of the team.
“We expect them to obviously come on and lead from the front, which is good practice for the team. It will be good for us to come up against their best. We expect those guys to bring a lot of confidence and X-factor into their team.”
Proteas T20I squad against India
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (DP World Lions), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rilee Rossouw (ITEC Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Gbets Warriors).
South Africa T20I Tour to India Itinerary (all times local)
Wednesday, 28 September at 19:00
India vs South Africa – Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
Sunday, 02 October at 19:00
India vs South Africa – Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
Tuesday, 04 October at 19:00
India vs South Africa – Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore