THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: South Africa will match India on boundaries when this week’s T20 series gets underway but the Proteas expect a challenge rivalling their last showdown with the hosts, skipper Temba Bavuma said Tuesday.
The first of three matches will be in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, three months after the teams’ last 20-over tour finished in a frustrating 2-2 draw.
It will be the last time both teams play the format before next month’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
“Last time we were here, we were tested, we were challenged in all departments of our game and I think we answered it quite well,” Bavuma told reporters.
“You mentioned the boundary count. That’s always something we can expect here in India, hitting sixes and fours... But I expect a good, strong, competitive series.”
India recently edged out Australia 2-1 with home batsmen smashing 40 fours and 33 sixes in the T20 series despite bad conditions cutting one match to eight overs a side.
Rohit Sharma’s team have lately won matches while chasing but their bowling has faltered in defending opposition totals.
The hosts’ batting coach Vikram Rathour said India had embraced a more aggressive approach in recent times and will try to do better when batting first.
“There is a visible shift in the way we are batting. The approach has changed. We are being more aggressive,” said former India batsman Rathour.
“We are playing with better strike rates and more intent and that is evident since the last World Cup,” he added.
“We are looking to get better at defending targets... I won’t be too harsh on my bowlers because they have been able to push the match till the last over every time when we are looking to defend.”
Shahbaz Ahmed and batsman Shreyas Iyer have been drafted into the India squad.
They replace injured Deepak Hooda and pace spearhead Mohammed Shami, who according to reports has not recovered from coronavirus.
India and South Africa will also play three One-day Internationals from October 6 to 11.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2022