India v South Africa
Sunday 12 June, 14:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
There were significant doubts about India's T20 prowess in game one. They were realised with South Africa producing a 'come-from-behind' success.
India are, of course, without Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah among others. But that was not the reason for the low confidence. The squad looked disjointed and unbalanced.
It was made worse by KL Rahul being ruled out of the series meaning the low-watt Rishabh Pant, a disaster as a skipper, was given the armband.
India's batting was good in posting 211 but there was limited nous in the field. Hardik Pandya was pricey, Yuz Chahal didn't get through his full quota and only Avesh Khan had a semblance of control.
Possible XI: Ishan, Gaikwad, Shreyas, Pant, Hardik, Karthik, Axar, Kumar, Harshal, Avesh, Chahal
South Africa have a burgeoning reputation as the coming force in T20. Twas ever thus. And as impressive as their win was in Delhi, they could do more.
For South Africa to really challenge for trophies, they must cast off the shackles and find room for their most destructive players. That includes Aiden Markram and Dewald Brevis. The latter is not in the squad but if they're using Dwaine Pretorius at No 3 it suggests he should be.
We were not that enamoured with their line-up. They were bowler heavy and they tried to be sneaky and hide that with Pretorius so high.
We expect the same team to be fielded again. David Miller won them the game with superb late hitting and he appears to be in the form of his life.
Probable XI: De Kock, Bavuma, Pretorius, Van der Dussen, Miller, Stubbs, Parnell, Rabada, Maharaj, Shamsi, Nortje
This is a rare trip to the Barabati in Cuttack. There hasn't been a T20 game played there since 2019. Such a gap is not ideal when trying to work out what the surface will be like.
Seven from 13 Syed Mushtaq Trophy matches produced scores of 160 or more. But four of those were worth 200 or more. It's a bizarre track with feast or famine. In four games there have been scores of fewer than 150.
With runs flowing in the first match between the two, we're leaning to more of the same. Sportsbook prices that are of interest are the 10/11 for both scoring 170, 8/5 for both scoring 180 and 3/1 for both scoring 190. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
South Africa underrated
India are 1.774/5 with South Africa 2.245/4. There was quite the gamble on the Saffers before game one so these two have come closer in the betting.
Not close enough, though. We remain unconvinced by India. If they can't defend 211 there's not much hope for them. They are heavily reliant on a strong batting show.
They may get that batting first in Cuttack. And we should be aware that whoever gets to bat first could well be trading skinnier at the break. For example, South should be capable of flipping the odds with a strong show of their own.
We're still smarting from Rassie van der Dussen hogging the strike and downing our 11/1 Miller wager for top Saffer. Miller took the match gong, too. Sportsbook go 5/1 this time so they dodged a rick.
Quinton de Kock has been boosted to 13/5 and that gives us an edge on win rate. Openers could well shine on a flat track. Pretorius is 8/1 which seems fair given order versus batting position.
If we're right about this being a good batting wicket, there could be a reputation between runs and the match gong again. De Kock is 8/1. Shreyas Iyer is the 7/1 jolly which means Ishan stands out at 9s. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.