South Africa have had one of the best pace bowling attacks in the world over the last few years but that hasn’t stopped Indian batting stalwart Rohit Sharma from dominating them.
The 32-year-old’s tally of 341 runs in 10 innings against the Proteas is the second best in T20Is at the moment and his batting average of 37.88 is also the third best among batsmen who have batted in at least five innings against them.
Not only that, Rohit also has the joint-most number of fifty-plus scores (three) against this unit, one of which is a century as well. It came four years back in 2015 at Dharamsala, the same venue where India cricket team will kick-off their T20I series against South Africa this time.
So, looking at the overall record, it seems that Rohit has the upper hand over the Proteas bowling unit. Hence, it is safe to say that he could end up having an excellent outing against the visitors in this series as well.
However, the Proteas can actually tackle his threat if they focus on doing what they did during India’s tour of South Africa last year. Rohit returned with scores of 21, 0 and 11 in the three outings in the rainbow nation and the one bowler who led to his dismissals in all of those three innings was Junior Dala.
The South African pacer troubled Rohit consistently with his pace and inward movement, thus, trapping him lbw on two out of the three occasions. These dismissals clearly sum up Rohit’s weakness against the incoming delivery, something which has been his Achilles’ heel throughout his career.
However, if his recent performances in limited-overs cricket are considered, it can be observed that he has worked upon this weakness. After enduring a hostile opening burst from Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris, Rohit went on to score an unbeaten 122 off 144 deliveries to lead India to a six-wicket victory during India’s 2019 World Cup opener against South Africa. He was firm in his defence and played the incoming deliveries without any fuss at all. In fact, Rohit was very impressive with all his performances in the English conditions.
So, it would be quite interesting to watch how he fares in this series now. Junior Dala will also be featuring once again and his battle against Rohit will be one to watch out for.
India are backed at 1.46 to beat South Africa, while the visitors are priced at 2.66 to win the match.
Written by: Prasenjit Dey