IND vs SA, 2nd T20I Preview: ‘Accidental Captain’ Rishabh Pant awaits Test in Cuttack

Cuttack: Accidental captain Rishabh Pant will expect better performance from the team India As for the bowlers, he is plotting a comeback against South Africa in the second T20I of the five-match series here on Sunday.

Leading India for the first time, Pant had to swallow a bitter bullet when David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen scored 212 runs in an extreme absence to go up 1-0 in the series.

The southpaw also had a forgettable Indian Premier League where it failed to take Delhi Capitals to the playoffs.

The stakes of Pant, to be seen as the white-ball captain in the future, have suddenly come down after the IPL and it has happened with the revival of Hardik Pandya.

Fast bowler all-rounder returned to full fitness IPL Not only with his form but by storm, he led Gujarat Titans to the title in their first season in a coup.

Amidst the growing ruckus of ‘Hardik Pandya – India’s next white-ball captain’, Pant will be re-examined as the mastermind of his comeback.

It may still be early days for the Pant leader, but his body language has never been different and he has looked under pressure at the start of his captaincy.

He made an argumentative decision to defeat IPL Purple Cap winner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was fresh from taking 27 wickets for runners-up Rajasthan Royals. The leggie bowled only two full overs at the Kotla.

For the fresh Pandya after his historic success with GT, he continued from where he left off in the IPL.

Pandya, who last played for India in the 2021 T20I in November last year World cup, dazzling with the bat with 31 not out in 12 balls to cross 200 total.

But he failed to impress with the bowling and conceded 18 runs in his lone over.

The biggest headache for Pant will be the bowling department where he will have to take a call between Arshdeep Singh and pacer Umran Malik.

While the batting seems to be in perfect condition, the new-form pacer looks flat in the series opener.

The senior-most Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not look alike and runs leaked in the death overs, while Harshal Patel was also taken to the cleaners.

Youngster Avesh Khan also failed to impress, though he was the most economical of the three.

With the pair of Arshdeep and Malik working hard to impress at the nets with their speed and accuracy, it is likely that one of the two could be well prepared for his debut on Saturday.

It will not be an easy task as one more slip-up will mean that it will be difficult for the Pant-led side to get three wins in a row.

Fresh from the success of their individual players in the IPL, the Proteas are finding themselves ‘at home’.

As in his life, Miller, who scored 481 runs at 68.71 in the IPL to play a key role in GT’s victory, started in ominous fashion and looked unstoppable against both spin and pace at the Kotla.

Quinton de Kock failed to convert his starts but the Lucknow Super Giants batsman also scored a bag (508) runs in the IPL and would like to make it count here.

With van der Dussen also making it rich, the trio will form the backbone of the batting while the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Enrique Nortje will try to stop the Indians.

Teams (from)

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

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendrix, Henrik Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Enrique Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabrez Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jensen.

The match will start at 7 PM IST.

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