5 players to watch out for in India-SA T20I series

After the end of the 2022 season of the Indian Premier League, international cricket is set to return to India, and in the first series, the Men in Blue will take on South Africa in a five-match T20I series. For the home assignment, India will be without the services of skipper Rohit Sharma, premier batter Virat Kohli and star pacer Jasprit Bumrah. In the trio’s absence, KL Rahul will lead the side, and the 18-member squad that has already been announced features the likes of players who have fared well in the IPL. The South African team also has 10 players who took part in the IPL 2022 and excelled well.

Here’s a look at five players who did well in the IPL and will feature in the upcoming series as well, which starts on Thursday (June 9) in Delhi.

KL Rahul

In the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul will lead the Indian team. The right-handed batter was the captain of the Indian team that was up against SA in the three-match ODI series earlier this year as well. KL is coming into the ODI series on the back of an outstanding run with the Lucknow Super Giants. The 30-year-old finished the 2022 season as the second highest run getter in the tournament and scored 616 runs in 15 matches for the Lucknow-based side. He would be eager to continue the purple patch.

Hardik Pandya

Hardik last played for India in the ICC Men’s T20 World League stage match against Namibia last year and now, after almost seven months, he will again don the India colours. The 28-year-old all-rounder is back to full fitness and ready to roll. He starred for Gujarat Titans with his all-round show in the recently concluded IPL and led them to a title triumph in their maiden attempt itself. In the absence of Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik can get a chance to bat at number four in the upcoming series. The former Mumbai Indians player scored 487 runs and took eight wickets in 15 IPL 2022 matches.

Umran Malik

The boy from Jammu City has been selected to play for India for the first time in his career. The 22-year-old fast-bowler impressed with his raw pace in the 15th edition of the IPL and bowled in excess of 150kmph. Besides bowling fast, the youngster also showcased his wicket-taking abilities and dismissed 22 batters in 14 matches to finish as the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament this year. He is likely to make his debut for the Men in Blue because of his fast bowling speed.

Kagiso Rabada

The South African pace merchant is one of the best all-format bowlers of current times. The 27-year-old was part of the Punjab Kings set up this year and finished the season as the third highest wicket-taker. In 13 matches, he got rid of as many as 23 batters. He will lead the South African attack in the five-match series. The in-form right-arm pacer will have Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, and Dwaine Pretorius in his support.

David Miller

David Miller has struggled to make an impact for any team he has played for in recent years, but the 2022 IPL has proven to be a career-defining moment for the 32-year-old South African batsman. The left-hander was part of the Gujarat Titans set-up and, as a number five batter, he surprised everyone with his show. The veteran of 95 T20I matches featured in 16 games for the Ahmedabad-based side and remained unbeaten on nine occasions to score 481 runs at an average of 68.71. Miller won the first qualifier against Rajasthan Royals single-handedly and then remained unbeaten in the summit clash to take his side home. He is going to be the Proteas X-factor in the upcoming series.