Team India look likely to experiment a little going into the final T20I against South Africa in Indore on Tuesday (October 4). The Proteas, meanwhile, will be hopeful of winning the game and getting their combinations right in the build-up to the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Reports have suggested that the hosts are set to rest top-order stalwarts KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. This will give them a chance to test their options ahead of the T20 World Cup, set to begin later this month.
Despite the series already being decided after the Men in Blue won the second match in Guwahati, this is still an important game. The winner of the contest could get a psychological advantage, with the two teams set to meet in the group stages of the T20 World Cup on October 30.
The batters will likely enjoy the conditions at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, with several high scores being recorded previously at the venue. However, there will also be some high-quality bowlers in the fray, leading to some exciting individual match-ups.
On that note, let's take a look at the three player-battles to watch out for in tonight's encounter:
#3 Quinton de Kock vs Deepak Chahar
Quinton de Kock looked disappointed towards the end of the second T20I, but still managed to score an unbeaten 69 runs off 48 balls.
The second half of his innings suggested that he was gradually finding his lost touch. As a batter who generally excels with the ball coming nicely onto the bat, De Kock could thrive in the conditions in Indore.
But the hosts do have a weapon to use against the dangerous southpaw in the form of Deepak Chahar. He has been quite impressive in the ongoing series against South Africa, having picked up a couple of wickets and conceded just six runs per over across two games.
De Kock has already been dismissed thrice by Chahar in T20s and the bowler will be confident of getting the better of the opener. It will be interesting to see how the match-up unfolds.
#2 Rohit Sharma vs Keshav Maharaj
Rohit Sharma scored the joint-fastest T20I hundred against Sri Lanka at the Holkar Stadium a few years ago. He will back himself to get another big score on Tuesday as he knows the ground and its dimensions pretty well.
Probably the best chance that the Proteas have against Sharma is to introduce left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj early into the attack. Maharaj troubled the explosive opener in the last game, conceding just 11 runs in the 13 balls that he bowled to him. The spinner also managed to dismiss the Indian skipper.
It will be interesting to see if Rohit counter-attacks Maharaj or if the South African will once again get the better of the opposition captain.
#1 Rishabh Pant vs Keshav Maharaj
Arguably one of the most interesting match-ups to watch out for is between Keshav Maharaj and Rishabh Pant, who turns 25 on Tuesday. The latter has been in and out of the Indian side and hasn't faced a ball yet in the series.
With Virat Kohli and KL Rahul being rested, there is a high possibility that Pant will get to bat higher up the order in Indore. Left-handers generally don't tend to struggle against left-arm spinners. However, Pant has been the exception to that rule over the course of his short international career.
Maharaj got the better of Pant when the two teams last met for a five-match T20I series in June this year. The southpaw scored just six runs off eight balls bowled by the spinner and was dismissed twice.