South Africa and India will now battle it out in the first match of the three T20Is series in Johannesburg.
After India won the ODI series in a dominating fashion with a 5-1 lead, South Africa are smarting from such a defeat and will be looking forward to avenging that loss in some way. But Virat Kohli has made it clear that Indian team is focused on finishing the tour on a high and they want to win the T20I series as well.
As for the playing XI for the first T20I, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be poised to open for India. Shikhar Dhawan has been in terrific form with the bat in all of the ODIs and gave India quick starts everytime he batted. This will be his first T20I match after missing the Sri Lanka T20I series.
Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, hit the joint fastest T20I century against Sri Lanka and despite his misfortunes with the bat in the Test and ODI, he is sure to make an impact in the shortest format of the game.
Virat Kohli is in tremendous form and will look to continue in the same way in the T20I series also. KL Rahul, who is making his appearance on the tour after missing out on the ODI series and will be looking to show his skills in this format.
Next, come one of the most trusted finishing duos in T20 cricket in MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. This series will be a comeback series for Suresh Raina, who will be playing in Indian colors after a year and will be under pressure to perform for the team. He is coming in with some form behind him and will be excited to show his mettle.
MS Dhoni will look to regain his hitting abilities for the shortest format as he cannot afford to waste deliveries in setting himself up. He will be aided by Hardik Pandya in the finishing duties and will also perform the role of the third seamer and will try to bowl 4 economical overs.
The spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will continue to instill nightmares in the South African batsmen, some of them who will be facing them for the first time, in a format, in which they first made a name for themselves.
Jasprit Bumrah should be present in the playing XI, as he has cemented his reputation as the best death overs bowler in T20 format, thanks to his exploits in IPL and for India in ODIs and T20Is.
As for the last seamer, Jaydev Unadkat should be rewarded for his brilliant IPL 2017 and his domestic form for Saurashtra, where he picked up wickets and scored some quick runs down the order as well.
COC Predicted Indian XI for the first T20I:
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat