South Africa captain Temba Bavuma and his players are excited to face Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl against India in the first Twenty20 of their five-match series on Thursday.

India are chasing its 13th consecutive victory in T20s. The run dates to the T20 World Cup in November 2021, and includes bilateral series wins against New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka.

However, the host is missing several stars after the lengthy Indian Premier League. Captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested from the series.

This is only the second time India are playing a home T20I without Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The last time it happened was against Sri Lanka at Mohali in 2009.

Rishabh Pant is India’s new T20 skipper for the series, and leads the team for the first time at his home ground.

Hardik Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to its maiden IPL title, is vice-captain, and returns to the team after seven months.

KL Rahul was named skipper for the series but he was ruled out after a groin injury. Spinner Kuldeep Yadav was also ruled out by a hand injury.

South Africa is at full strength under Temba Bavuma’s leadership. The touring party includes Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Kagiso Rabada, who have plenty of experience of the conditions as regulars in the IPL. They haven’t lost a white-ball series in India since 2010.

The pitch at Arun Jaitley Stadium is expected to be two-paced and slow as the game wears on.

A capacity crowd of nearly 30,000 will witness the first game in India without COVID-19 restrictions.



India: Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (captain), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan.

South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma (captain), Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.

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