India were impressive, yet again, in the win over the West Indies, their first warmup match of the ICC World T20 2016. Come Saturday, India will look for more of the same with the willow and the white cherry when they play South Africa at the Wanhkede Stadium in Mumbai in their final practice match before the real thing.
More than 20,000 fans came to watch India in action against the West Indies at the Eden Gardens, and they did not leave disappointed as Rohit Sharma and co. tonked the West Indies bowlers around for fun, before the bowlers performed outstandingly to complete a handsome victory.
While the win would have pleased MS Dhoni, what would have made the India captain happier would have been the fact that most of his squad, particularly the ones on the fringes, got a god run-out.
Pawan Negi got to bowl and bat, Harbhajan Singh did reasonably well with the ball, after getting smashed initially, while Mohammed Shami made an impressive comeback. Ajinkya Rahane might have not got too many runs, but at least he was given an opportunity in the middle, something he is unlikely to get in the World T20, unless one of the batsmen is injured.
Dhoni will, no doubt, want to give these players an opportunity to impress again against South Africa, who come into this World T20 on the back of a series defeat to Australia.
However, that defeat will not bother them too much, considering it was one of those you-score-and-I-will-score-more series, where the batsmen ruled all the way through. While the pitches are expected to be flat in the World T20, the batsmen might not have it all their way, with the slower bowlers, in particular, ready to make an impact.
R Ashwin, Harbhajan and Negi will want to test themselves against the might of South Africa, whose batting can stand up with the best of them – any batting that has AB De Villiers will be considered scary, even with the Superman's not-so-great stats in T20I cricket.
It will also be a nice battle between the South Africa bowlers and the India batsmen, particularly with Dale Steyn back in the Proteas camp.
There is nothing more wonderful to watch than Steyn in full flow, and with Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, if he comes out to bat this time, in prime form, this could be a match to savour, even if it is only a warmup.
Where to follow live
India vs South Africa is set to begin at 7.30 p.m. IST (4 p.m. SAST, 2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET). The India vs South Africa World T20 warmup match will not be shown live on TV or streamed online.
The match, however, can be followed live with all the scores and updates and live commentary on the ICC website.