Johannesburg: Fresh from a 5-1 historical ODI series win against South Africa; India will look to extend their white ball dominance further when they meet the hosts for the first of three-match T20I series at the Wanderers here on Sunday.
India had, earlier, lost the Test series 1-2, but came back strong to thrash South Africa 5-1 in the ODI series. The T20I series will conclude India’s tour of the Rainbow Nation and thus the Men in Blue would look to end it on a high.
Suresh Raina and Manish Pandey are the new additions to the Indian contingent for the T20I series.
However, the main focus will be on Raina, as he is returning to the squad after he last played in the shortest format for India in February last year.
The veteran has since struggled to get back into the side because of both form and fitness issues.
The other centre of focus will be skipper Virat Kohli who has been enjoying a rich vein of form. The 29-year-old ended the ODI series against South Africa with 558 runs, becoming the first batsman ever to score 500 runs in a bilateral ODI series.
Kohli struck three centuries in the six-match series and is the only Indian to notch up three tons in a bilateral series.
The skipper will look to set another record today as he is just 43 runs away from becoming the first Indian batsman to reach 2,000 T20I runs.
Meanwhile, South Africa, who will aim for redemption after their ODI debacle, will be lead by JP Duminy in the absence of injured regular skipper Faf du Plessis.
Duminy will forefront a relatively less experienced South African side as veteran Hashim Amla and ODI skipper Aiden Markram have been rested. Uncapped players such as Christiaan Jonker, Reeza Hendricks, Dane Paterson and Junior Dala have been added to the squad.
Looking at the statistics, India have a 6-2 record against South Africa in all T20Is.
History also favours India, as South Africa have tasted successive defeats in T20I matches at the batsman-friendly Wanderers pitch.
The two squads are as follows:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal
South Africa: Reeza Hendricks, Jon-Jon Smuts, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Christiaan Jonker, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso.