India’s depleted pack attack will come under scrutiny in the second T20I against South Africa here on Sunday.
A back injury to Jasprit Bumrah has ruled him out of the series. More worryingly, Bumrah may not be able to recover in time for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which commences later this month.
Bumrah’s absence opens the door for his replacement, Mohammed Siraj, to make an impact. Siraj, who joined the team at training here, last played a T20I in February. Good shows in the second and third T20Is could earn Siraj a ticket to the World Cup, if indeed Bumrah is unable to make the trip.
The World Cup carrot dangles in front of Deepak Chahar and Umesh Yadav as well. While Chahar scalped two wickets in India’s victory in the first T20I at Thiruvananthapuram, Umesh sat out. There is a worry that Umesh can be wayward in the shortest format, so the team management is unlikely to pick him in the eleven here.
Mohammed Shami, on the standby list for the World Cup, misses out on the vital game as he is recuperating from COVID-19.
Left-arm fast bowler Arshdeep Singh did his reputation a world of good with a stellar show in the first T20I. Arshdeep swung the ball prodigiously both ways to bamboozle the South African batters, and earned the ‘Player-of-the-Match’ award for his three for 32 performance. As the lone left-arm pacer in the World Cup squad, Arshdeep is all but guaranteed to feature extensively in Australia.
On the batting front, KL Rahul found some runs at Thiruvananthapuram, even if he was less than convincing. Rahul was scratchy in his unbeaten 56-ball 51, and was helped by Suryakumar Yadav’s free flowing approach at the other end. Suryakumar’s delightful unbeaten 33-ball 50 made the 107-run target wholly inadequate.
Having been bowled out for a paltry score on Wednesday, South Africa must believe that there is no way but up. The top order crumbled in the face of fine seam bowling, leaving India in cruise control for a majority of the outing.
The visitor is bound to put up a better fight in this clash.