The much anticipated India-South Africa series is set to start with a bang as the two teams will go head-to-head in the shortest format of the game. India, who are always a strong team at home, possess some dangerous players in the T20 format. The men in blue should be considered favourites if they get their act going.
Make no mistake, the Proteas are also a strong T20 side, but there are some reasons, which give India an edge over their opponents in the T20 series. Here are a few.
No Dale Steyn and Mornel Morkel
Steyn and Morkel, who have been two of the most lethal opening bowlers for South Africa in the recent past, have been left out of the T20 squad, which makes their bowling attack look fragile. The Indian batsmen will capitalise in the absence of their bowling spearheads. South Africa are going to depend on the services of Kagiso Rabada in the fast bowling department for the T20 series, but the pacer only has an experience of playing in six T20Is.
Hence, the onus in the bowling department will fall on spinner, Imran Tahir, but he has an uphill task with Indian players said to be masters of playing spin.
Quality Indian Spinners
The South African team have always been troubled by spinners in the sub-continent. India, who possesses some top class spinners in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh, will make it hard for their batsmen to score quick runs.
AB de Villiers' poor record against India
The South African team have been hugely dependent on the batting skills of AB de Villiers in recent past. However, De Villiers' record against India in T20Is is not great, which might catch many by surprise. Scores of 6,1, 63, 31, 14, 13 and 10 are what de Villiers' has made when he has played India in T20Is. Apart from his 63 in Nottingham in the 2009 T20 World Cup, the South African have failed to impress with the bat.
India's powerful batting lineup
India have a very strong batting lineup, which includes solid top order batsmen such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan and a strong middle order with Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, the latter two shouldering the responsibility of finishing the innings. What makes this lineup even more dangerous is their ability to change gears as per the situation. The aformentioned players can win games on their own as well.
Conditions favour India
India have always been a huge side at home. Great teams of the past have also encountered the fact. Playing against India in India has always been one of the biggest challenges for cricketers from all around the world. Overseas teams are overawed by the packed stadiums, where the crowd support the team to the hilt, which provides an electrifying atmosphere. India's biggest strength, however, lies in the conditions – pitch and also the weather.