India lost to South Africa by four wickets in the second T20I in Cuttack. With this, the hosts are 0-2 down in the series and will have to win all the remaining games. The loss in the second T20I was down to the poor batting show. Ruturaj Gaikwad did not do very well in both encounters. Hence, he might be the player who will be replaced for the next game. Although the management might still back him, more than the intention of giving him more chances, the actual objective will be to win the series. On that note, in this article, we take a look at three players India could use as the opener for third India vs South Africa T20I.
1) Rishabh Pant
Since no replacement was announced for the injured KL Rahul, the only other backup option on the team is Venkatesh Iyer and Deepak Hooda. However, considering the players have featured mostly in the middle-order for India, we might see a different player at the top.
Rahul Dravid has already explored the idea of using Pant as an opener. With him struggling for form, the powerplay restrictions could help the player to play a bit freely. Pant has anyways played a lot of his junior cricket as an opener. The majority of those games were with Ishan Kishan on the other hand. Therefore, India could go to this combination.
2) Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer is one of the players India could use as the opener for third India vs South Africa T20I. He is India’s next best option as an opener along with Ishan Kishan.
Although Shreyas has not opened for India, whenever a quick wicket fell, he has shown that he can utilize the powerplay well. The player had started his IPL career as an opener and was decent in the role. Hence, India could also think of this combination.
3) Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel gave Dinesh Karthik good support to finish the first innings on a high in Cuttack. The Haryana cricketer has opened the batting for his state and this might be a chance that India could take.
It is a distant idea. However, if Harshal can put less value on his wicket and go after the bowling, South Africa will be under immediate pressure. This is not a long-term option and might be used only for the sake of winning the series.