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India to take on hosts South Africa in their first T20 International in Durban today

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India will take on hosts South Africa in their first T20 International in Durban today. The match will start at 7:30 PM IST. Suryakumar Yadav-led young squad has many new names as the senior brass of the team comes in during the Test format of the tour. Aiden Markram is leading the South African squad and they have also included many emerging players who will show their potential in the great team. 

Can teams move past the blow of failing to win an ODI World Cup with success in mere T20Is? India’s men’s side have offered an answer to that question by claiming four victories in the five T20Is they played against Australia in the past not quite three weeks.

That followed the Australians finding a way to humble hitherto unbeaten India in the ODI World final in Ahmedabad on November 19. South Africa, who lost their semifinal against the Aussies at Eden Gardens three days earlier and haven’t played since, will start rebuilding on Sunday when Kingsmead hosts the first of three T20Is against India.

If this seems an abjectly modest way to reenter the fray, remember that both teams have only six T20Is to sort themselves out before another World Cup – the T20I version – looms in the Caribbean in June. If that seems a stretch of credulity across time, space and formats, consider that several members of South Africa’s XI for semifinal, and of India’s selection for the final, are in the current squads.

One of the South Africans is Gerald Coetzee, who sent down eight overs unchanged at the cost of 32 runs and was rewarded with the wickets of Steven Smith and Josh Inglis. At the end, his energy spent – even 23-year-olds aren’t immune to exhaustion – and his body cramping, he melted into a puddle of tears and sweat in David Miller’s brotherly embrace. How had Coetzee bounced back from bowling his heart out, and his lungs, in his preparation for the coming series?

“The world saw that he gave his all and some more,” Aiden Markram said. “It would have been tough for him to deal with – it was tough for everyone – but he has been good the last few days. He is back up for it and it’s been good to see. He loves bowling, he loves performing and he loves competing. For him, it’s a new series and he’s looking forward to what he can do for us.”

Had the Indians dealt with the shock of losing a game everyone, including millions of their compatriots, thought they would win? “It was a disappointment that will be difficult to move on from, but the show must go on,” Suryakumar Yadav said. “We had a nice T20I series against Australia. It was a different format, but we really enjoyed it and it was a big boost for the boys who came in and won that series for us.”

Still, a cruelty lingers around this scenario, as it does around Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj – the other players in the T20I squads who featured in their teams’ last matches at the World Cup.

As much as it might appear otherwise, high-calibre cricketers are as human as the rest of us. How, exactly, do you lift yourself from the floor so soon after being flattened while a global audience looked on? Perhaps we should be quietly grateful and relieved that, unlike big-name cricketers, we usually have the privilege of enduring our failures in private.


South Africa Squad: Reeza Hendricks, Matthew Breetzke, Tristan Stubbs, Aiden Markram(c), Heinrich Klaasen(w), David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Nandre Burger, Tabraiz Shamsi, Ottniel Baartman, Marco Jansen, Donovan Ferreira, Lizaad Williams

India Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav(c), Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Kishan, Mukesh Kumar, Washington Sundar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Kuldeep Yadav.

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