India vs South Africa, 1st T20I: Preview, stats, and more
India and South Africa are set to lock horns in a five-match T20I series, starting June 9 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. Rishabh Pant will lead the Men in Blue in place of KL Rahul, who has been ruled out due to a groin injury. The hosts are unbeaten in 12 T20Is presently. Meanwhile, the Proteas would aim to end India's winning streak.
The Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi will host the first T20I. It has hosted six T20Is so far, with chasing sides winning three. The wicket has plenty to offer to both batters and bowlers. Anything around 160-170 would be a par total here. The match will be telecast live on Star Sports Network (7:00 PM IST) and live-streamed on the Hotstar app.
India have a lead over South Africa as far as the head-to-head record is concerned. The two sides have clashed in 15 matches, with India winning nine. Meanwhile, South Africa have claimed six victories. Interestingly, both sides have won five matches each in the bilateral series. The last T20I series between India and South Africa was drawn 1-1.
India are yet to lose a T20I since October 2021. They have won 12 T20Is on the trot ever since, the joint-most successive wins by a team in the shortest format with Afghanistan (February 2018 to September 2019) and Romania (October 2020 to September 2021). India can go the extra mile if they win the first T20I against the Proteas.
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan are expected to open in the absence of Rahul. Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik provide solidity to the middle order. It will be interesting to see if Umran Malik makes his debut. Probable XI: Ishan, Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (captain and wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik.
South Africa have plenty of match-winners in their squad. All eyes will be on Quinton de Kock and David Miller, who shone in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Kagiso Rabada will lead the pace attack. Probable XI: Aiden Markram, Quinton (wicket-keeper), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma (captain), David Miller, Dwaine Pretorious, Marco Jansen, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj.
Leg-spinner Chahal is set to become India's leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket. He (274) is only behind R Ashwin (276) in terms of T20 wickets among Indians. Rabada is one away from completing 50 wickets in T20I cricket. Quinton could become the first SA batter with over 2,000 runs in T20I cricket. The Arun Jaitley Stadium would host its first international since November 2019.