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RESULT
2nd T20I (D/N), Gqeberha, December 12, 2023, India tour of South Africa
(19.3/19.3 ov) 180/7
(13.5/15 ov, T:152) 154/5

South Africa won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining) (DLS method)

Player Of The Match
1/18
tabraiz-shamsi
Cricinfo's MVP
86.97 ptsImpact List
aiden-markram
Preview

India, SA look to ramp up prep for T20 World Cup

The eyes will be on the skies once again with rain forecast at St. George's Park on Tuesday afternoon

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
11-Dec-2023

Big picture: Is time running out for India, SA?

With the series opener in Durban washed out, both India and South Africa have just five T20Is to nail down their combination for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA.
The second and third matches in the series will take place on Tuesday and Thursday in Gqeberha and Johannesburg respectively, with rain forecast at St. George's Park on Tuesday afternoon and cloudy skies over the Wanderers through the week.
The first T20I in Durban was sold out since the end of last month, the other white-ball games are expected to be well attended too, and the financial boost of the entire tour is understood to be in the region of R1 billion (approx. US $52.7million); and all that before we even get to the importance of the cricket.
These T20Is are the last competitive matches South Africa will play before they have to name their T20 World Cup squad, who will play three matches in the West Indies ahead of the tournament. India have these matches and one more series - against Afghanistan in January - before the T20 World Cup. So the importance of finding combinations is amplified for both teams, although they will also rely on performances in T20 leagues, especially the SA20 and IPL, where their mainstays play.
For fringe players, then, this series presents a massive opportunity. South Africa could have two debutants - both bowlers in left-arm quick Nandre Burger, and right-arm medium-fast Ottniel Baartman - and might give opening batter Matthew Breetzke a run in the remaining two games. India don't have any uncapped players in their touring group, but four of their squad - Mukesh Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma - have played 10 T20Is or fewer. We often hear that there's no substitute for experience, and some of the players mentioned above will get that over the course of the next two weeks.
The fixtures roll in thick and fast, with a one-day gap between each of the T20Is, and two before the ODIs start. By then, South Africa will have entered the belly of the holiday season, with mid-December the time for many to put their feet up, grab a cold one and watch some cricket.

Form guide

South Africa: LLLLW (Last five matches, most recent first)
India: WWLWW

In the spotlight: Reeza Hendricks and Ravi Bishnoi

The biggest beneficiary of Quinton de Kock's unavailability is Reeza Hendricks, who is expected to be given a long overdue run in both white-ball formats, albeit still without a guarantee of a T20 World Cup place. Hendricks was South Africa's fourth-highest T20I run-scorer in 2022 but played half the number of games of the second- and third-highest players, and three fewer than their top scorer. This year, Hendricks is South Africa's leading run-scorer. In his last 11 T20I innings, he has made seven half-centuries, and should be a certain pick for next year's T20 World Cup. A few more solid performances will confirm his place.
Ravi Bishnoi has enjoyed a dream December so far after finishing as the leading wicket-taker in India's recent T20I series against Australia, and rising to the top of the ICC's T20I bowling rankings. With his unusual run-up, he might pose a new challenge to a South Africa line-up that still struggles against the trickier legspinners, and who have not faced him in this format. Bishnoi played his only ODI to date against South Africa in October last year, where he took 1 for 69 in eight overs, but is expected to present more of a threat in the shorter format.

Team news: New faces for South Africa

Breetzke has been confirmed as Hendricks' partner at the top of the order, but not as the designated wicketkeeper. That leaves South Africa to choose between Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen. There's a glut of allrounders available, but only two of Donovan Ferreira, Marco Jansen and Andile Phehlukwayo are likely to play. There could be a debut for Burger, with two spinners to add experience to a young attack. Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen will now be available only for the second match before they are released to prepare for the Tests and will field a second-string pace attack in the third match.
South Africa (probable): 1 Reeza Hendricks, 2 Matthew Breetzke, 3 Aiden Markam, 4 Tristan Stubbs/Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 5 David Miller, 6 Donovan Ferreira, 7 Marco Jansen/Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Gerald Coetzee, 10 Nandre Burger, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi
It remains to be seen whether Deepak Chahar, who had missed the last T20I against Australia because of a medical emergency, is available for this series. At the top, India will have to pick between the returning Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad. And if India can accommodate just one spinner, there will be a toss-up between Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav.
India (probable): 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Shubman Gill/Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Suryakumar Yadav (capt), 5 Rinku Singh, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar/Mukesh Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav/Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Arshdeep Singh

Pitch and conditions

The eyes will be on the skies once again, with rain forecast at St. George's Park on Tuesday afternoon. In the only late afternoon start (5pm) at this venue in the SA20 earlier in January, Paarl Royals chased down 131 against Sunrisers Eastern Cape. St. George's Park has hosted only two T20Is so far, with South Africa losing to West Indies in 2007 and winning against Australia more recently in 2020.

Stats and trivia

  • India have won two of their last four T20I series against South Africa, with the other two being drawn. The last time South Africa beat India in a T20I series was in October 2015, when they had won 2-0 in India.
  • Arshdeep Singh is India's leading T20I bowler this year, with 25 wickets at 23.68. From Full-Member countries, he is the second-highest wicket-taker in 2023.
  • In 99 T20I innings, Miller has hit 106 sixes. No other South African has hit more sixes than him.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent for South Africa and women's cricket

Language
English
Win Probability
SA 100%
INDSA
100%50%100%IND InningsSA Innings

Over 14 • SA 154/5

South Africa won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining) (DLS method)
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