After an exciting season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which debutants Gujarat Titans lifted the trophy after a one-sided final against Rajasthan Royals, the action now changes to the international. The Men in Blue are set to host South Africa for a five-match T20I series, starting June 9th.
The opener of the series will give India a chance to chase a winning record of all time 13-0 T20I. The team for the same, which will be led by KL Rahul, will see a host of fresh talents, who had a wonderful outing in the last edition of IPL, join the series.
While the 18-member India team looks absolutely overwhelming, here are five players to watch out for from the Indian camp:
1 Hardik Pandya: Hardik Pandya responded appropriately to his no-sayers when he delivered one of the most influential all-round displays in the IPL final against Rajasthan. The skipper of Gujarat Titans was surrounded by many planes entering the season with concerns about his fitness, but ‘Kung-fu’ Pandya put them out of the park when he sent his side to the title for his home crowd.
Hardik finished the season with 487 runs and 8 wickets and enters the T20I series with confidence. It is undeniable that much of the spotlight will be on this common all-rounder.
2 KL Rahul: KL Rahul’s leadership along with his batting earned him great praise – all that was to be seen during the Lucknow Super Giants’ campaign in IPL 2022. Although he would have wanted to be on the winning side in the ‘Eliminator’ against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rahul had a stellar season. The opening stock scored 616 runs at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 135.38 and headed in the series that radiated with momentum and form.
3 Dinesh Karthik: A comeback story like no other, Dinesh Karthik not only knocked on the selection door, but slammed it wide open with a brilliant performance in the IPL. The unfavorable wicketkeeper-butcher, who won the IPL’s ‘Super Striker of the Season’ award with a sharp strike rate of 183, once again stood up against his ‘finisher’ tag.
With 330 runs on an average of 55, Karthik wants to replicate his performances with the Indian jersey.
Umran Malik: The Sunrisers Hyderabad pace machine from Jammu and Kashmir caught the attention of everyone with its high speed, which saw the 22-year-old clock 150 km / h in every race. Until the IPL final, Umran held the record for bowling the fastest delivery of the season at 157 km / h, until Lockie Ferguson grabbed it with a thunderbolt of 157.3 km / h.
In the 14 IPL matches he played, Umran scalped 22 wickets, which included a five against Gujarat Titans. The boy then came back with stats of 5/25, the best in the history of the league.
Legends of the game have supported this gun-bowler and it remains to be seen if he will keep up the speed against South Africa.
Arshdeep Singh: Arshdeep Singh turned out to be another exciting talent to get out of the Punjab Kings camp. The 23-year-old was the go-to bowler for Punjab Kings in the death-overs that fill his arsenal with toe-knockers and the ability to bowl wide yorkers.
Arshdeep finished the season with 10 wickets in 14 games with his best being 3/37 and an economic rate of 7.70. He will be sure to put this form through in the series as well.
Watch Team India chase the record of most wins in T20I in the T20I series of five matches against South Africa, from 9 June 2022, 7pm, LIVE and exclusively on the Star Sports Network and Disney + Hotstar