Kagiso Rabada will look to have a better bowling performance against India today's T20. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
The Proteas will need to find a way to contain India’s power-packed top order if they are to level the T20I series in Bangalore today (3.30pm SA time start), says Rassie van der Dussen.

India boast arguably the leading T2OI top-three in world cricket. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are an explosive opening combination. They are, however, followed by India captain Virat Kohli at No3, who became the leading T20I run-scorer in the history of the short format during the seven-wicket victory in Mohali earlier this past week.

Kohli actually overtook Sharma (2434 runs) during his 72 not out to take him to 2441 runs in T20I cricket. Sharma will, of course, have the opportunity to regain top spot in Bangalore before Kohli comes to the crease.

Equally, Dhawan has been been prolic with the left-hander closing in on 7000 runs - including franchise - overall in the T20s.

“They are probably three of the best T20 batters in the world at the moment and the best among the world has ever seen. Virat and Rohit are the two leading run-scorers at the moment in international T20 cricket,” said Van der Dussen.

“It’s a great challenge for young bowlers coming here and bowling to these guys. But like I said, we know what the challenge is. If we want to get a win, we have to nullify these kinds of players.”

It certainly is a testing learning curve for the likes of fast bowler Anrich Nortjé and Co. at the moment. Nortjé, who made his T20I debut in Mohali, was treated with disdain by Sharma in his opening over, with the powerful right-hander smashing him for two sixes over mid-wicket.

With the Proteas' usual talisman Kagiso Rabada still seemingly not able to shake off his World Cup disappointment as yet, the visitors are desperately missing the control of veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

With Tahir having retired already from ODIs after the World Cup, the selectors opted to use this India T20I series to begin the search for his replacement. Tabraiz Shamsi is the obvious candidate, but two left-arm spinners Bjorn Fortuin and George Linde have also been included in the squad.

Fortuin was steady without being spectacular in Mohali and hopefully skipper Quinton de Kock utilises him earlier today, particularly as the hosts used Washington Sundar with good effect in the Powerplay. Fortuin has regularly been called upon by both the Highveld Lions and Jozi Stars to operate in the Powerplay and is comfortable bowling with the fielding restrictions still in place.

However, Van der Dussen could not help bemoaning the absence of Tahir, especially when faced with such a quality batting line-up.

“Imran is obviously massive for us. He has been so good, he has retired from ODI cricket so he is going to focus on T20 cricket, and we know he is a big weapon for us,” said Van der Dussen.

“The challenge for other bowlers is that we don’t have the luxury of a guy like that, who can come in and bowl four overs for 20, and maybe take one or two wickets.”


Weekend Argus

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