India, who have already suffered a series defeat at the hands of South Africa in the ongoing T20 leg of the tour, will play for pride when the men in blue square off against the Proteas in the third and final T20 match at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Though the final T20 match of the series is a dead rubber, India have a lot to play for, especially keeping in mind the upcoming T20 World Cup, which is just five months away. This T20 series against the heavyweights was supposed to be a stern test ahead of the mega competition, but the Indian team failed it miserably.
A thumping victory in the third T20 can give the team some much-needed confidence ahead of the upcoming ODI and Test series. India spinner, Harbhajan Singh, despite the T20 series loss, remains confident that the team will bounce back.
"We have lost the series but we still have a lot to play in the final game. Hopefully we will win and from there onward it could be a different story," said Harbhajan.
"The ODIs are coming up and then the Tests. We want to play our best game and we want to put up our best show. Once we start winning we will be a difficult side to beat."
India could make a few changes with Stuart Binny replacing Ambati Rayudu, who failed to score a single run in the first two matches, and Shikhar Dhawan making way for Ajinkya Rahane.
Amit Mishra could also feature in the third T20 at the expense of Harbhajan Singh or Axar Patel. Dhawan has also been a big failure in the series, however, his opening partner, Rohit Sharma, who has an incredible record at Eden Gardens, including his 264 runs against Sri Lanka last year, will be India's key batsman in the third T20.
South Africa could also rest Hashim Amla and bring Quinton de Kock into the opening slot as well. JP Duminy, who has not been dismissed in the series, has been in tremendous form for South Africa. The left-hander played an important hand in helping the Proteas win the series.
Irrespective of the players, who will feature at Eden Gardens, both teams will have the sole agenda of winning the match. India will be keen to avoid a series whitewash, while South Africa will be eager to continue with their winning ways. Hence, the match is expected to be a cracker with lots of runs, as the pitch at Eden Gardens is said to be a belter.
South Africa, without a shadow of doubt, have been the better team in the series so far in all facets of the game. Though the first T20 in Dharamsala was a close one, India lost the second match in an embarrassing manner, as they could not even come up a three-digit score. Rohit and Virat Kohli's run out was pivotal in the second T20, as the middle order could not build on their innings.
India, on the whole, need to lift themselves and come up with a brilliant game and register a smile on the faces of the Indian cricket fans, who have been disappointed with their team's performance in the series.
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India vs South Africa 3rd T20 match, which has been scheduled for 7 pm local time (3.30 pm SAST, 2.30 pm BST, 9.30 am ET) start, is a huge game after the home team's embarrassing performance in the series.
The highly anticipated India vs South Africa 3rd T20 match can be followed live in India on DD National, Star Sports 1/HD and Star Sports 3/HD with the added option of watching it online on Starsports.com and hotstar.com
Viewers in South Africa can catch the India vs South Africa 3rd T20 live on SuperSport or can watch it online on SuperSport Live.
UK viewers can watch India vs South Africa 3rd T20 live on Sky Sports and live streaming will be made available on Sky Go . Viewers in the US can follow the India vs South Africa 3rd T20 live on Willow TV; live streaming is available on Willow TV online.
Viewers in Australia will be able to catch India vs South Africa 3rd T20 live on Fox Sports. The live stream option is available on Foxtel.