Ed Hawkins takes a look at game two from Centurion on Wednesday and says South AFrica might be worth a risk if overs are reduced
"Would we want to be on India in a reduced-over slog? Probably not. The shorter the game the less chance they have to impose their will and skill"
South Africa v India
Wednesday 21 February 16.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa's run of poor luck with injuries shows no signs of abating. AB De Villiers, who missed the first three ODIs against India, was ruled out of the T20 series before game one.
Naturally, a depleted South Africa were well beaten. They conceded 203 and after being reduced to 48 for three the game was as good up. It's hard to criticise, though, because this is a reserve team.
As well as AB, there is no Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel. That's seven first-choice players.
In their place they are relying on a smattering of senior players. JP Duminy, who leads, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien and Chris Morris, the all-rounder, have got to step up.
In Jo'burg the bright sports were two wickets for debutant Junior Dala and a 50-ball 70 from Reeza Hendricks.
India are likely to resist making any changes until the series is won. They have South Africa down and they are going to want to make them suffer. Since the Wanderers Test India have been dominant.
One of their big three batters - Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli - always comes to the party. Last time out it was Dhawan who hit 72 from 39 balls. Rohit's 21 from nine balls was an impressively brutal cameo.
Bhuv Kumar, teamed with Jaydev Unadkat and Jasprit Bumrah in a pace-heavy attack, claimed five wickets. It was interesting that India ditched Kuldeep Yadav for another pacer considering spin has been their most lethal weapon. It is possible that he could come back in with a pacer dropping out so to pair him again with Yuz Chahal.
There have been only six T20s played at Centurion, producing first-innings scores of 126, 177, 156, 241, 195 and 128. That's an average of 171. South Africa lost by nine wickets and eight wickets in the two ODI against India there. India's spinners took 11 wickets in the matches.
South Africa are [2.62] and India [1.60]. Given the dominance of the tourists and player drain on the hosts it is arguable that India should be shorter.
And if that's your bag, go ahead. But we're guessing you might want a little shrewder analysis from this column than saying a [1.60] chance has good prospects.
The factor which could upset the odds here is the weather. There is a strong prospect of thunderstorms - about 80% at the last check - so there is a possibility overs could be reduced.
Would we want to be on India in a reduced-over slog? Probably not. The shorter the game the less chance they have to impose their will and skill. It would only take a Miller or Behardien to get going for a short spell to reduce the gulf.
So maybe keep your powder dry until the reduction comes. Or look to trade South Africa into [1.90] jollies.
Miller and Behardien have limited ground form. The former has 80 runs in four and the latter 67 in three. We are quite keen on Behardien's price at 13/2 with Betfair Sportsbook because he can be so destructive so quickly. Likewise look out for Heinrich Klassen, who is 5/1.
Dhawan notched a fifty in the ODI at Centurion but Kohli trumped him with a brilliant unbeaten 129 in the next one there. If there is rain around it goes without saying that the front three have to be pruned in price. So Kohli and Dhawan at 3/1 each and Rohit at 16/5 (all Betfair Sportsbook) are going to be popular.