From the far east in Guwahati
, the caravan rolls to dead center in Indore. It's a city that loves its cricket so much so that they packed the stands just to be able to watch Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh roll the clock back at a net session during the Road Safety Exhibition series
two weeks ago.
It may be a dead rubber, but that doesn't mean much for India's tier-two cities. They don't get to see a lot of live cricket so every game is deeply appreciated. The junoon
(passion) is actually at an all-time high. Cricketers from the region are being recognised like never before. Two Indore residents - Venkatesh Iyer
and Avesh Khan
- have already made their India debuts. Next week
, another one - Rajat Patidar
- could well join the list. Madhya Pradesh, of which Indore forms a big part in terms of cricket, are also Ranji Trophy winners
. So the interest couldn't be higher. Throw in the backdrop of the T20 World Cup, and the lines between a dead rubber and a must-win get blurred even more.
South Africa have been ambushed by India once with the ball
and once with the bat. But they gave a good account of themselves in trying to scale Mount Everest when Miller's breathtaking century took South Africa close to India's 237 and Tuesday is an opportunity to get over the line and carry some confidence into Australia.
India have continued to push boundaries as a batting unit
, but with the ball, especially without Jasprit Bumrah, the pieces of their jigsaw aren't yet fully settled. Tuesday is their opportunity to get the death-bowling spot on.
Given the short turnaround time, the game will be as much a test of the player's fitness as it will be of their skill. Over to the twenty-two players then. Can they put up another spectacle, less than 48 hours after the big bash in Guwahati?
India: WWWWL (last five completed T20Is; most recent first)
South Africa: LLWWW
In the spotlight
Four-ball duck in Thiruvananthapuram. Seven-ball duck in Guwahati. What does Indore have in store? Temba Bavuma
's T20 form and approach have been under much scrutiny. The debates rage on
about whether he's the best player to lead South Africa in this format. That he didn't attract any bids at the SA20 auction last month has magnified his struggles even more. Some runs and confidence will be welcome heading into Australia. At Holkar stadium, a good pitch and small boundaries await. Can he turn the tide?
is just 13 T20Is old but has already seen different ends of the emotional spectrum. At the Asia Cup, he was at the centre of merciless trolling
for a dropped catch in a tight game against Pakistan. He bounced back with superb final overs even though it didn't translate into Indian victories. In Guwahati, he came in on the high of a three-wicket over that set up India's win but got his radar wrong and was taken apart for 62 off his full quota. With a huge cloud
over Bumrah, Arshdeep will want to do everything he can to stay in contention because there are a lot of options at India's disposal.
and KL Rahul
have been given a short break to head home and recuperate before departing for the T20 World Cup on October 6
. This could mean an opportunity for Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer to get some batting time out in the middle. Shahbaz Ahmed, the batting allrounder, may also stand a chance of making his India debut.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Rishabh Pant (wk), 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Axar Patel, 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Shahbaz Ahmed, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 R Ashwin, 11 Arshdeep Singh
South Africa will want to win and may not want to experiment too much. Can they find a way to fit in Reeza Hendricks though?
South Africa (probable): 1 Temba Bavuma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Rilee Rossouw/Reeza Hendricks, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 David Miller, 6 Tristan Stubbs, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Pitch and conditions
Indore is known to provide batting belters. It's also one of the smallest grounds in India. Is there more to be said? Expect a high-scoring encounter. There could be a hint of dew in the second half that could make it easier for the team chasing.