When Virat Kohli was asked about the number of matches he would like to play with a settled, locked-in playing 11 before the World T20 commences, he said rather nonchalantly, "10-11 games would be enough with the combination that you have decided upon for the World T20."
Until then, it is time to experiment and we shall see much of the bench strength being tested in the run-up to the all-important tournament next year in Australia. Having won the second T20I against South Africa rather comfortably and gaining an unassailable 1-0 lead in the series, the 3rd T20I is the perfect occasion to see some of these changes.
The No 4 spot is up for contention again with Rishabh Pant failing to impress. Manish Pandey and KL Rahul are waiting in the ranks. There's Rahul Chahar too who's yet to get a game this series and has played a single T20I against the West Indies.
Amongst the pacers, Navdeep Saini, Deepak and Rahul Chahar and Khaleel Ahmed are being banked upon. However, it will be interesting to see if Saini, Chahar and Khaleel can hold their places for long once the more experienced campaigners are back in the scheme of things, rested and rejuvenated.
South Africa are also looking for some answers post a dismal World Cup. The only known name in their middle order is David Miller while Quinton de Kock assumes charge as the captain of a young side. Their bowling attack, no doubt bolstered by Kagiso Rabada, lacked the killing instincts in the second T20I and Virat Kohli romped home with an over to spare.
Both teams will likely introduce some changes and give chances to those warming the benches. However, rain may play a spoilsport today. The weather forecast, according to Accuweather, predicts a thunderstorm in the evening and the showers may last up to an hour. Cloudy skies could help the bowlers get some swing in the air, that is if they can get a proper grip on the ball as dew is always a factor for an evening start. The smaller boundaries at M Chinnaswamy Stadium favour the batsmen and a run-fest will definitely be on the cards.
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The South African team has been part of eight bio-secure environments (BSE) since the COVID-19 outbreak last year including home series against England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The 26-year-old Easwaran made 103 off 209 balls and hit 16 boundaries during his stay in the middle.