After staging a remarkable comeback in the series, India will take on South Africa in the fifth and final T20I match, to be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru today.
The series is evenly poised on 2-2 and today’s match will be the decider.
Last encounter at venue
In 2019, South Africa beat India by nine wickets at this very stadium.
Quinton de Kock scored 72 not out and Kagiso Rabada took 3/39 to give SA an easy win.
South Africa captain Temba Bavuma retired hurt in the fourth match due to an elbow injury.
His participation in this match is a question mark.
Also, Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell missed the last match with injuries, so it remains to be seen if they are fit.
India look settled with their combination and might stick with the same team for the decider.
However, their top order is not firing well and Rishabh Pant looks like a weak link.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium has relatively short boundaries.
It is also known to be a good batting pitch.
However, the spinners also tend to get some assistance from the wicket.
This is good news for Chahal, Axar Patel, Keshav Maharaj and Shamsi.
The skipper winning the toss might prefer to bowl first.
India Likely 11
Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
South Africa Likely 11
Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks/Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje
Expected key players for India
Ishan Kishan is the leading run-scorer in the series with 191 runs in just four matches.
He has an excellent average of almost 48 and has a terrific strike rate of 146 as well.
Hardik Pandya is next with 117 runs at an average of 58.50 and strike rate of 153.94.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium is one of Pandya’s preferred venues. In 7 matches, Hardik has hit 147 runs at an average of 36.75 and strike rate of 154.74.
Dinesh Karthik played brilliantly in Rajkot (55 off 27 balls).
However, Karthik has a poor record in T20s on this ground (18 inns, 278 runs, avg. 16.35, SR 129.30).
Despite this, we expect Karthik to shine due to his outstanding form.
Expected key players for SA
Tabraiz Shamsi is ranked number three in the ICC T20 bowler rankings.
But he has taken only one wicket in the series so fae.
However, the left-arm spinner can turn out to be a match-winner for his side during the fifth T20I. Shamsi bowls slow through the air and has a lot of variations.
He also knows the conditions at this stadium as he was a member of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
Dwaine Pretorius is South Africa’s leading wicket-taker this series (5).
He is likely to have the role of pinch-hitter at three once again.
He scored 29 off 13 balls in the first match of this series and can be a key player.
Quinton de Kock is key to South Africa’s hopes.
He loves playing at the Chinnaswamy stadium and has an great T20 record on this ground. In 11 innings, he has scored 463 runs at an average of 46.30 and a strike rate of 147.45.
Who will win
India is looking rock solid at the moment.
They have several players who can be match-winners in the batting and bowling department.
SA will need exceptional individual brilliance to stop India who looks like a complete team.
Our prediction is India will win the match and take the series 3-2.