South Africa have arrived in India for the T20 and Test tour with a lot of hope. The fresh faces in their ranks make that hope. Proteas are looking to rebuild their side. Quinton de Kock will be leading in the series as Cricket South Africa have put some more weight on his shoulders to do the job. He surely is SA's long-term investment as when Faf du Plessis bids bye forever, de Kock would be captaining the side.
Despite a new side at the helm, de Kock would be hopeful of giving a solid fight to the Indians. However, the task won't be a walk in the park. They will be facing a good Indian team led by Virat Kohli which means there will be many interesting battles the cricket enthusiasts would get to see.
We list down some key clashes which may a big role in deciding the fate of the series.
Rabada vs Indian top order: Kagiso Rabada has been waiting on the sidelines in international cricket for some time now. The fast bowler is a proven champion, and with fire and pace, can destroy finest of batting units. However, his lack of form in World Cup 2019 and Proteas not playing a single tournament after the mega event means the world is only talking about Bumrahs, Cummins, and Malingas.
On 15 September, Rabada, who is now a senior player in the team as well, will reload his ammunition to return to his lethal best. And as expected, he would be looking to announce himself by targeting the glorious Indian top three — Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli. There is nothing better than taking down the best in the business. India are hugely dependent on their top order as has been the case for long. This upcoming series won't be any different. If Rabada gets them, the hosts may find themselves in a spot of bother with young blood taking care of the middle order currently. It will be fun.
Quinton de Kock vs India new-ball bowlers: The series is important for India in one very important aspect. There is no Jasprit Bumrah, or Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Mohammed Shami in the team. The pacers include Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini. These are the upcoming bowling stars and Kohli will be dependent on them to deliver.
It is expected that it would be the pair of Chahar and Saini who will open the bowling and both have the skills to swing the ball both ways. If Chahar has more swing, Saini knows how to rack up the pace. And these two will be targeting the one key man in Proteas batting order — Quinton de Kock. The visiting team captain knows the conditions well and owns the ability to take the match quickly away from the opposition. India will be eyeing to get his wicket early to push the visitors on back foot, knowing there is not enough international experience in the middle order.
Indian spinners vs Proteas middle order: India have a long list of spinners in this series. There is leg spin of Rahul Chahar, off spin of Washington Sundar, and there is the left-arm-orthodox spin of Krunal Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja. The spin department has a good mix of experienced and fresh talent. What would be interesting to see is how the South African middle order plays them. There is David Miller who likes to attack from the word go. There is Rassie van der Dussen who loves to settle down first and then steer the innings. There are a couple of power-hitters as well who follow them. The variety of options in Kohli's hand tilts this contest already in favour of the hosts. But who knows what is in offing for us?
Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi vs Pandya brothers, Rishabh Pant: Not to forget, Imran Tahir is no more a part of Proteas setup. In his absence, the onus comes on the shoulder of Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj, the two slightly more experienced spinners in the team. With some brutal hitters of the cricket ball present in the Indian team, it would be interesting to see how the spinners bowl against them. There is Krunal and Hardik Pandya and then there is Rishabh Pant, who does not like to play many dots. This surely would be a fun contest to look out for.