Johannesburg: Following a historic One-Day International (ODI) series victory, ruthless India will aim to continue their form in the cricket's shortest format when they face South Africa in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.
With a short interval for preparation after the ODI series that ended on Friday, the Virat Kohli-led India will aim to repeat similar performance as they did in the 2006 one-off T20I series here against South Africa. The last time both the teams met here for a bilateral series, India clinched a six-wicket victory over South Africa under Virender Sehwag. Bolstered by terrific all-round performances led by skipper Kohli, who was adjudged the Man of the Series in the recently concluded ODI series, India will hope to thrash the hosts in the three-match series. Alongside the skipper, batsmen Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhwawan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya will look to make the most of their capabilities in the shortest format.
Batsman Suresh Raina, who has made a comeback in the T20Is will act as an vital cog in the middle-order and will look to prove his mettle. The bowling department, which looked lethal with wrist-spinning duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will try to make a mark in the shortest format. Pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will only add depth to the formidable Indian bowling line-up. However, the Proteas led by Jean-Pau Duminy in the absence of Faf du Plessis, will look to hit back at India in the shortest format of the game, under the likes of hard-hitting batsmen consisting the skipper himself, AB de Villiers, David Miller and Chris Morris, who can score some vital runs in the lower order. The bowling department, led by Andile Phehlukwayo, Morris along with chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi will have to come out with something special in order to get rid of the flamboyant Indian batsmen.
Meanwhile, the three new faces included for the shortest format -- batsman Christiaan Jonker, pacer Junior Dala and wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen will be aiming to put up a show for the home team,
India: Virat Kohli (captain) Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur.
South Africa: Jean-Paul Duminy (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.