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India vs South Africa, 4th T20I preview: Rishabh Pant’s Men in Blue look to level series in Rajkot

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After securing an emphatic 48-run win in third T20I in Visakhapatnam, the Indian cricket team will look to continue their winning momentum and level five-match series when they take on South Africa in the fourth T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday, June 17.

Trailing 0-2 in the five-match T20I series, India rode on twin fifties from openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) and Ishan Kishan (54) followed by pacer Harshal Patel’s four-wicket haul and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s 3/20 to secure an impressive victory over the in-form Proteas in Vizag and keep the series alive.

Earlier, Rishabh Pant’s Men in Blue suffered a seven-wicket defeat in Delhi and a four-wicket loss in Cuttack.

India will need another perfect game in Rajkot to take the series to a decider to be played in Bengaluru. The hosts have a decent record at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, winning two of the three T20I matches that they have played so far. While India beat Australia in 2013 and Bangladesh in 2019, they succumbed to a defeat against New Zealand in 2017.

Here are some of the talking points ahead of the fourth T20I between India and South Africa:

Ishan Kishan continues to impress

Mumbai Indians star batter Ishan Kishan has been the standout batter for India in the five-match T20I series so far. The 23-year-old left-hander has amassed 164 runs in three matches at an impressive strike rate of 157.69 while also maintaining an average of 54.67. He has scored 54 runs more than second highest run-getter Heinrich Klaasen in the series so far. Kishan will look to continue his scintillating form in the fourth T20I on Friday.

Indian spinners back in form

After picking just two wickets in the first two T20Is, Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel bagged four wickets combined in the third T20I in Visakhapatnam to play an important role in their victory. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the wrecker-in-chief for India as he picked three crucial wickets for just 20 runs in his quota of four overs. Considering India rely heavily on their spinners in the middle overs, the form of Chahal and Axar were the biggest positives heading into another important clash in Rajkot.

Captain Rishabh Pant under pressure

India captain Rishabh Pant has struggled with the bat in the ongoing T20I series. The swashbuckling southpaw has scored just 40 runs in three matches at an average of 13.33. Head coach Rahul Dravid and the team management will hope Pant can play a decisive knock in Rajkot in another must-win encounter for the hosts.

Pant and his men will hope to play another great game against South Africa and level the five-match T20I series in Rajkot on Friday.