India vs South Africa Live Score, 2nd T20I: Litmus test for youngsters as IND, SA begin T20 World Cup preparations

India vs South Africa Live Score, 2nd T20I: The T20I series between India and South Africa should have been up and running now, but rain gods had other plans for the opener on Sunday. Persistent showers in Durban washed out the 1st T20I without a ball being bowled, effectively making …Read More this now a two-match series. While the prospect of a 1-1 stalemate lingers on, India and South Africa would be fiercely driven to push out a result in the 2nd T20I today at St George’s Park, Gqeberha… provided the weather allows that is. Unlike the Kingsmead Stadium a few days ago, Team India arrived in Gqeberha dry and with the hope that they will be in action, and thankfully, with dry weather awaiting, the much-anticipated tour can finally get underway.

India vs South Africa Live Score, 2nd T20I: The IND vs SA tour finally kicks off tonight(Getty Images)

For India, the two T20Is are extremely crucial. For the players auditioning for the T20 World Cup, they have a total of five T20Is left. Out of the 15, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya are sure-shot starters, as are Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav. With limited slots to fill, and so many youngsters knocking on the door, time is running out for this bunch of players. Two games here, three against Afghanistan next month, and it’s all over to the IPL, which will once again be the criteria for selection. With India heading into the South Africa tour with so much to gain from the Australia series – Surya’s captaincy, Ravi Bishnoi’s emergence, Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma’s finishing exploits and Arshdeep Singh’s death-overs skills, a fascinating show here would do their chances a world of good.

Not that it’ll be any easy for the guys playing today. Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to be automatic inclusions in the side, which makes it certain that Tilak Varma, Ruturaj Gaikwad would be rested. Ishan Kishan will get the preference over Jitesh Sharma as the wicketkeeper batter. No news of any injury has thus far emerged from the Indian contingent in Gqeberha, which makes the prospect of this Playing XI all the more likely. This squad however, will see the return of plenty of World Cup stars, including Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, and the previously mentioned quartet of Gill, Iyer, Jadeja and SKY. And the fact that this venue has traditionally assisted fast bowlers. Seeing Siraj, Arshdeep and most likely Mukesh Kumar as the third seamer will add a layer of uniqueness in India’s fast-bowling wherewithal.

As for South Africa, this is their first assignment since the heartbreak of the World Cup semi-final. Like India, a lot of Proteas from that squad are expected to feature in today’s game. Aiden Markram, David Miller. Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Gerald Coetzee, along with the surprise package of Tristan Stubbs. The last time these two teams faced each other was on November 2 at the Eden Gardens. Virat Kohli had scored his 49th ODI century as India rolled South Africa over for 83, winning the match by 243 runs. But conditions today will be nothing like they were in Kolkata. South Africa is pace-friendly, bouncy, and trust Coetzee, Lizaad Williams to make the Indian batters hop and jump. In overcast conditions, the team winning the toss might produce a repeat of what the Australians did to South Africans in the 1st World Cup semi-final not too long ago.

Strangely enough, India have played just six T20Is against South Africa on their soil, including their first-ever way back in 2006. But they have beaten South Africa in both the bilateral T20Is played – 1-0 in 2011 and 2-1 in 2018. Will they complete a hat-trick?

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