Thiruvananthapuram: South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said Tuesday that facing the swinging ball in the power play overs will be one of the main challenges for his team in the three-match T20 series against India, beginning here Wednesday. India are on a high with come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Australia in the recently-concluded three-T20 series against Australia.
The focus will now shift to an identical match-up against the Proteas. This series is the final dress rehearsal for both teams before the T20 World Cup in Australia next month.
“Facing the new ball bowlers (in India) is quite challenging. They make the ball swing and move in quite a bit, a bit more than what we are accustomed to in South Africa. That’s obviously a challenge you have to manoeuvre around,” Bavuma said on the eve of the game.
It should however, be stated here that India’s bowling woes were thoroughly exposed against Australia. Except for left-arm spinner Axar Patel, all the other Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners during the series. The pacers were literally hammered all over the place. In the series decider played Sunday at Hyderabad, the seasoned pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded 79 runs from seven overs.
“The key is to limit the damage and not allow the wickets to fall and try and get the momentum going. But yeah, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) and Bumrah, they always challenge you with the new ball up front,” Bavuma said. Bhuvneshwar however will not be playing against South Africa as he has been rested.
India’s batting looks in safe hands with Virat Kohli’s return to form and Rohit Sharma leading from the front. And then there is the maverick Suryakumar Yadav.
“Obviously, those – Rohit and Virat – are big names with big pedigree behind them. Their performances have certainly boosted the confidence of the team,” Temba Bavuma said.
“We expect to come leading from the front, and good for us to come up against the best. You expect those guys to bring a lot of confidence and X-factor into the team,” the South African skipper added.
That said, Bavuma will have an ‘unfinished business’ as their last series – a five-match T20I rubber – ended in a 2-2 result after rain washed out the decider in Bangalore.
“The last time we were here we were tested, we were challenged, but I think we answered it quite well. We expect this to be a good series, a competitive one as well. This is the last series before the World Cup, we will be looking to fill up the gaps whatever they are,” Bavuma informed.
Personally, Bavuma has a lot to prove after being snubbed in their SA20 auction, the country’s inaugural T20 League. Dismissing it as ‘side-show’, the skipper said his role is to lead the country and keep everyone in a good space before the World Cup.
“I’m here to make sure the guys are in the best space possible going into that big World Cup tournament. All the other distractions and side-shows as I would call it, I will deal with on a personal level. Now my main aim is to serve and lead the team to the best of my abilities as long as I am wearing the South African shirt,” the 32-year-old Bavuma signed off.