Having lost the 1st T20 game in Dharamshala by seven wickets, India are all set to take on South Africa in the 2nd T20 match at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Monday. The wounded hosts are raring to bounce back in the 2nd T20 international.
India need to address a number of issues that popped up during the first T20 match against the Proteas -- the pacers were not on song and they proved to be expensive, the spinners did not earn them the breaks, the selection of Ambati Rayudu over Ajinkya Rahane or Stuart Binny or Harbhajan Singh, and Axar Patel's inexperience in this format of the game, for which MS Dhoni paid the price as the former gave away 22 runs in the 16th over. Well that is quite a list isn't it?
We can only hope that Ravi Shastri and captain cool MS Dhoni will sort their way back into this series and until then let us have a look at some of the key clashes that we may get to see in this 2nd T20 game on Monday:
1. Rohit Sharma vs Chris Morris: Sharma now holds two records -- highest ODI score by an Indian and highest T20 score by an Indian batsman. The latter was achieved in the 1st T20 against South Africa last Friday. Morris will be aware of how destructive Sharma can be and thus he will have to restrict this Mumbai born lad before he does any further damages.
2. Hashim Amla vs Sreenath Aravind: Amla and De Villiers gave South Africa the perfect start right at the top of the order in the first T20 game. Amla will be looking forward to do something similar in Monday's game as well so that the stage will be set for the middle-order destructive batsmen like JP Duminy, Farhan Behardien and David Miller. Aravind on the other hand, proved to be rather expensive. the dew factor will not be there in Cuttack and he should be at his best and hit the deck hard and trouble Amla and others with his slower off-cutters.
3. Suresh Raina vs Eddie Leie: We did not get to see much of Raina in the 1st T20. We will have to wait and watch what he has in store for us on Monday in the 2nd T20 against South Africa. Imran Tahir was targeted by the Indian batsmen and thus they could easily reach the total of 199 at the end of 20 overs. Faf du Plessis might as well think about giving Leie a chance as he did well against Bangladesh few months ago. Raina relishes playing the leggies, so can he take him on or will he fall prey to Leie's googlies?
4. JP Duminy vs Ravichandran Ashwin: Duminy stole the show during the 1st T20 as he handed South Africa a massive win. He was equally dangerous in the warm-up game against India A as well. Now as the Indian bowlers have sensed the threat and quite obviously Ashwin should unleash his bag of tricks and send this outstanding all-rounder back to the huts early.
5. David Miller vs Harbhajan Singh: Both the players have plenty of Indian Premier League (IPL) experience in their bags and they also have faced each other a number of times. Singh is very economical in this format of the game and Miller can go hammer and tongs at any point in the game (if the situation demands). A riveting contest between these two can be expected on Monday.