Dhoni to drive India’s charge against South Africa 

Dharamsala, Oct 1 (IANS) India, aided by the return of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the limited overs skipper, will aim for a winning start against South Africa in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) of their three-match series here on Friday.

South Africa begin their 72-day long tour of India at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium (HPCA) on the back of a T20 loss against India A in their only warm-up match.

However, they will aim to put that poor performance behind them and look for a positive start to the hectic tour.

The three-match T20 series is mostly seen as a preparation for the upcoming World Cup T20 in 2016 scheduled to be played in India.

Dhoni will be back into the side after a gap of three months and will aim to make the most of the preparations ahead of the next year’s tournament. Youngsters Axar Patel, Sreenath Aravind and Ambati Rayudu will be tested.

With India’s batting line-up comprising Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane being the strength, the Proteas’ bowlers need to be disciplined to dismantle them in conditions favouring the batsmen.

South Arica’s batsmen like skipper Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, J.P. Duminy, Quinton de Kock, David Miller will aim to use their Indian Premier League (IPL) experience as much as possible in the three T20 matches.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir will come into play on the turning tracks and can turn out to be the visiting team’s best bet at taking wickets.

India, on the other hand, have a strong bowling line-up, with spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin leading the lines, assisted by pacers Mohit Sharma and Sreenath Aravind.

With both teams looking strong on paper, one cracker of a contest can be expected.

Squads:

India: MS Dhoni (captain & 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 (captain), 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.

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