Although India’s hard-fought T20I series
against South Africa ended in disappointment at 2-2 after the decider in
Bengaluru was washed out due to rain, there were still plenty of learnings for
both sides ahead of the upcoming T20I World Cup in Australia.
There were plenty of dazzling performances
from the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dinesh Karthik across the five games,
and here is our report card for the series.
Ishan Kishan –
In the absence of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma
and Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan impressed at the top of the order for the Men in
Blue. The left-hander finished as the highest run-getter in the series, scoring
206 runs at a strike rate of 150 and was dismissed in the powerplay on just one
occasion across his five innings. Kishan hit the most fours and sixes in the
series and was particularly destructive against the South African spinners,
striking at 233 against Shamsi and Maharaj in the five matches.
Dinesh Karthik marked his return to India’s
white-ball set-up against the Proteas, and the 37-year-old translated his
incredible form for RCB in the IPL into national colours. Karthik finished the
series with 92 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 158 and put himself in
prime contention for a spot in India’s World Cup squad after his 26-ball
half-century in Rajkot which helped the hosts level the series at 2-2.
Kumar – 9/10
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was named the man of the
series against South Africa for his fantastic performance across the four
matches with the ball, and the veteran seamer stood up to the task as the
leader of the Indian pace attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah. Kumar
finished with six wickets at an average of 14 and consistently made inroads
with the new ball across the four matches for the Men in Blue, conceding just
3.56 runs per over in the powerplay in the series.
Rishabh Pant –
It was a disappointing debut series as
captain for Rishabh Pant, who continued to underwhelm for the Men in Blue in
the shortest format. The left-hander scored just 58 runs in five matches at a
worrying strike rate of 105 and continued to make the same errors throughout
the series, with the wicketkeeper dismissed on three occasions by chasing wide
deliveries outside off-stump.
Hardik Pandya –
Hardik Pandya returned to the Indian squad
for the first time since the 2021 T20 World Cup, and the all-rounder carried
his stellar form from IPL 2022 into the series against South Africa. Pandya
finished with 117 runs at a strike rate of 153 in the series and played two
pivotal knocks in both of India’s victories in Vizag (31 off 21) and Rajkot (46