Team India dished out an inspired bowling performance in the first T20I at Thiruvananthapuram as they absolutely blew away the South African batting line-up. Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar did the damage with the new ball and one can argue that the game was decided inside the powerplay.
The visitors will know that it was probably an off day and that they certainly have a strong batting line-up that can post a huge total. Similarly, the Men in Blue will also have players like KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav brimming with confidence after their fifties on a tricky pitch in the last game.
On that note, let’s take a look at three batters from both sides who could be among the runs tonight:
#3 Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram wasn’t a part of the series against India in June as he tested positive for COVID-19. However, in just three T20Is that he has played this year, Markram has scored 134 runs at an outstanding strike rate of 183.56.
Even in the first game, Markram was probably the only South African batter who looked somewhat comfortable against the moving ball. He has already shown what he can do in Indian conditions, having amassed 381 runs in 12 games in the IPL 2022 season at an average of 47.62 and a strike rate of almost 140.
He has been one of the most important batters in the Proteas’ white-ball revolution and will certainly back himself to score big in Guwahati.
#2 Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma had a rare failure in the first T20I as he was dismissed for a duck through an absolute peach of a delivery from Kagiso Rabada. However, his ultra-attacking batting in the powerplay will help him get through that initial tricky phase more often than not.
The last time India played an international game in Guwahati was an ODI against West Indies in 2018. Rohit was the star of the show as his sensational 152*(117) saw India chase down a target of 323 in a canter.
Given the history and high-scoring nature of the pitch in Guwahati, the captain could once again deliver a match-winning performance.
#1 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli would have been disappointed with himself after he scored just 3(9) in the first T20I. However, like Rohit, he even has good memories of Guwahati as he himself scored 140(107) against the West Indies in that very game.
The Men in Blue are yet to win a T20I series against South Africa at home. If they are to do that tonight, then Kohli being among the runs could be of paramount importance. The former captain will know that he has found form after a long time and will want to make the most of it.