India started the T20 series as favourites, albeit in a modest way, against the touring South African side, but the Proteas came up with quality cricket to clinch the three-match T20 series after defeating the home team in the first and the second T20 matches in Dharamsala and Cuttack, respectively.
With India having already lost the series 0-2, the men in blue have to play for pride as they prepare to face South Africa in the third and a dead-rubber T20 match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, 8 October.
Here is a look at some key players who can play an important role in the third match of the T20 series.
Kohli, who plays at No.3 for India in the T20 format, needs to be on top of his game against South Africa in the third T20 as opener Shikhar Dhawan has been unimpressive of late, losing his wicket early. Not only does Kohli posses an aggressive game, but also bats according to the situation. During the first T20, Kohli played sensibly alongside Rohit Sharma, who was given much of the strike by the Delhi lad. However, his failure in the second ODI, eventually leading to India's downfall, also reflected India's faith on Kohli to steady the ship. Hence, Kohli has to shoulder the responsibility at the top of the order for India.
Ashwin has been India's best bowler in the series. The spinner has taken crucial wickets without giving away easy runs. Ashwin needs to continue with a similar form at Eden Gardens as well. Apart from getting sharp turn, he has used his variations to good effect so far. AB de Villiers, who is the most dangerous batsman in the South African line up, has been dismissed by Ashwin in both the T20 matches. However, Ashwin, who is a decent batsman, needs to show some batting skills as well in the lower order.
Duminy has been the highest scorer for South Africa in both the matches, which explains his major contribution while batting in the second innings. The left hander, who is comfortable against both the spinners and pacers, will be eager to carry on the same form, which has helped South Africa clinch the series. Though Duminy possesses an aggressive game when required, the South African can play as per the requirement as witnessed in the series. Another impressive performance in the third T20 can help him inch closer to the man of the series award as well.
Faf du Plessis
The skipper has been a major disappointment for South Africa in the series and is hence due for a big score in the third T20 match. With the ODI series inching closer, du Plessis may well use the third game as perfect preparation to find his feet and score runs, which could spell danger for team India. Du Plessis is one of the most dependable batsmen for South Africa.