Cape Town - The Proteas will be out to start their tour of
India on a positive note in the opening T20 international against India at the
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala on Friday.
The short turnaround of matches in the three-match series
leaves little room for a slow start, with winning momentum a valuable asset in
the long 72-day tour.
This is the first T20I to be hosted by the picturesque 23 000-seater
HPCA stadium, despite the venue being a second home ground for IPL team, Kings
Many of the players will have played at the stadium during
the IPL and will be familiar with conditions and challenges that come with
day-night matches. The bowlers even practised with wet balls in anticipation of
the dew which can be a challenging factor.
“I had a look at the wicket today and it still is a little
bit damp underneath,” captain Faf du Plessis told the media at his pre-match
press conference on Thursday.
“There are still two days of sun to come on it so we are
hoping that it will be a good cricket wicket with a lot in it for the batsmen
but also some good carry. If I can compare it to the nets then it will be good
to bat on in the middle and we can have a game full of boundaries which will be
a lot different to the conditions in Delhi. This is probably the quickest
wicket in India so it’s a nice way to start our campaign with a wicket that
will suit both teams.”
While pace continues to be the Proteas’ key weapon, the
captain is confident with the spinning options of Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and
Eddie Leie going into the series.
“Imran has proven over the last few years that he can change
a game, especially in white-ball cricket,” he said of the No 1-ranked ODI
“In the last two years he has changed the way we play in
limited-overs cricket, he has gotten wickets in the middle overs when we have
always relied on pace to strike for us. Recently, our success as a T20 and ODI
team has been heavily placed on his shoulders, he has done really well.
“JP, although he is seen as a part-time spinner, has had
good success in the T20 format and Eddie Leie will come here and learn and to
get an idea of how to bowl on these wickets and also tap into Imran’s
experience,” Du Plessis added.
The match is scheduled to start at 15:30 (SA time).