IND vs SA 2nd T20I: India eyes comeback after initial stumble against South Africa

The Indian bowlers will go through yet another test of bowling on a small ground when the host meets South Africa with a hope to bounce back in the second T20I at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

The first of the five-match series was a lesson for the Indian bowlers, who faced the heat of the Proteas firepower in Delhi and witnessed a 200-plus total getting overhauled comfortably.

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Experienced seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar admitted that the home bowlers needed to perform better.

On a lighter vein, Bhuvneshwar said, “I wish South Africa dropped Miller, but they will not do so.” In saying so, he underlined the southpaw’s imperious form.

Apart from Miller, who seems to be playing in an extended Indian Premier League, India will look to negate the threats of the clean-hitting Rassie van der Dussen – who combined with Miller to fashion South Africa’s biggest run chase – the seasoned Quinton de Kock, versatile captain Temba Bavuma and other big hitters in the opponent’s camp.

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India may be tempted to do some experiments by fielding a few IPL stars, such as Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh.

As Ishan Kishan blasted a half-century and Hardik Pandya played a cameo in the middle order in Delhi, the Rishabh Pant-led India would like to see its batters continue in destructive mode.

In humid and possibly overcast conditions, the home batters need to handle skillful South African pacers Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Wayne Parnell – who can mix things up and use the short ball well – as effectively as possible.

The Barabati Stadium, which is ready to host the second T20I between India and South Africa here on Sunday, is in best shape ever with a lot of renovation done to the 64-year-old venue.

Newly-installed floodlights, a sand based ground for better drainage, full rain cover for the entire field of play, new super sopper, modern fire safety measures, renovation of an old stand, refurbishment of the dressing rooms, corporate box and press box and overall beautification of the stadium are some of the features which give the ground a fresh look.

The Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) has procured the service of Bengal curator Sujan Mukherjee to effectively handle the situation in case of rain.

The venue last hosted an international match when India took on West Indies in December 2019.

South Africa will play a T20I at the venue for the second time. The last match between the two teams in 2015 was marred by an unpleasant bottle-throwing incident.

Barabati, which is staging an international match after two-and-a-half years, had more than 10,000 fans during Indian team’s practice on Saturday and may have a full house on the match day.

FULL SQUADS:

India: Rishabh Pant (captain,wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (Capt.), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen and Marco Jansen.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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