India will play for pride in the third and last T20I of the ongoing T20 series against South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Having lost the first two matches, India would want to get a win before the ODI series to gain some momentum against the strong Proteas side.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been India’s star performer in the first two matches and all the focus will be on him as far as the bowling department is concerned. Other than Ashwin, no other Indian bowler has been able to make a mark in the series so far. Harbhajan Singh, who was picked for the second T2OI at Cuttack bowled well and is expected to be in the playing XI for the 3rd T20I, as the track at Eden Gardens has always been supportive of spinners.
Axar Patel, who is rated very highly by Dhoni, has failed to make an impact and he is likely to be replaced by Amit Mishra, who bowled brilliantly in the Test series against Sri Lanka.
India’s fast bowling unit has also been mediocre in the series so far. India are likely to play 3 spinners and 2 fast bowlers.
Ambati Rayudu, who has scored only 1 run in two T20Is, is likely to be replaced by Stuart Binny, as this will also give a 6th bowling option. India’s opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan is also under pressure to score runs as he failed in the first 2 matches of the series.
India’s likely playing XI for the third T20I against South Africa at Eden Gardens (Kolkata):
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma
India: MS Dhoni (c&wk), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Akshar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Sreenath Aravind.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Marchant de Lange, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Albie Morkel and Khaya Zondo.