India will be looking forward to repeating the last match’s result, and leveling the T20I series against South Africa under Rishabh Pant’s captaincy in a must-win fourth game at Rajkot on Friday.
After defeating India by 7 and 3 wickets respectively in the first two games, the Proteas were outplayed by the hosts in the 3rd match.
Having to bat first, India ended up scoring 179 runs based on Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan’s (54) spectacular batting display, along with a significant cameo from Hardik Pandya (31).
The rest of the job was done by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s brilliant powerplay spell, Harshal Patel's four-fer, and Yuzvendra Chahal’s 3/20, as India clinched a 48-run victory over the guests.
The South African side, led by skipper Temba Bavuma, will fight back to regain their winning form, while the Men in Blue will try to keep up their winning streak against the Proteas to level the series 2-2.
Pant and head coach Rahul Dravid is expected to make changes to the playing XI for the fourth game.
Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra has expressed his displeasure with how the 25-year-old fast bowler Avesh Khan has been used in this tournament as yet. Avesh was being used in settings that did not fit his skills..
Avesh has bowled in the death overs along with Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but Nehra believes that Arshdeep Singh would be a better fit for the team and would allow skipper Rishabh Pant to deploy his alternatives more than effectively.
“If you feel that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is swinging the ball nicely and has picked a couple of wickets early, you won't be hesitant to give him the third if you have Harshal and Arshdeep who can bowl well at the death," he told Cricbuzz.
“It’s difficult to say in which phase Avesh is more effective as the team management hasn’t given enough confidence. He has done well up front but he has been also used at different times in the game. So if you want to use him that way, then maybe Arshdeep Singh is a better option," Nehra added.
At the third T20I in Visakhapatnam, Avesh was the only bowler to concede above eight runs per over. Nehra, however, said that Avesh had been treated unfairly because the results did not reflect his performance, despite the fact that he wasn't bowling poorly.
“He has done well up front but he has been also used at different times in the game.” Nehra shared his concerns about the pace-bowling combination used by India in the first three games and said that it will contribute to a dominant powerplay, but leave Pant an option short at the end.
Nehra also added that although India will look forward to winning the game and equalizing the five-match series, no unnecessary changes should be brought about in the playing XI, saying Umran Malik in particular could be given more time rather than being rushed into the playing squad.