India captain Rohit Sharma has won the toss and elected to bat first against South Africa in their third Group 2 match of Super 12 stage in the T20 World Cup at the Perth Stadium on Sunday.
India and South Africa are the only unbeaten teams left in Group 2 of Super 12s. Both teams are coming off comprehensive wins in their last matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground -- South Africa thrashed Bangladesh by 104 runs while India defeated Netherlands by 56 runs.
After winning the toss, Rohit said all-rounder Deepak Hooda, who also bowls part-time off-spin, replaces left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel in the playing eleven. Hooda was seen batting at the nets ahead of the match, which sparked talks of him replacing Axar in the playing eleven.
"It's a good surface, we know what to expect and what to do on this pitch. We had a camp across at the WACA, helped us get used to the bounce for both batters and the bowlers. But this is an important game from where the tournament is, we just have to follow the routine and trust the process, just stay calm and execute the plans," added Rohit.
The decision may have also been prompted by Axar's record against South Africa, which hasn't been great, apart from them having three left-handed in their top six -- Rilee Rossouw, David Miller and Quinton de Kock.
South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said pacer Lungi Ngidi comes in for left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the playing eleven, with the pace and bounce offered by the pitch at Perth Stadium in the tournament till now.
"Big game for us, have had a good start to the tournament, it's a big opportunity to test our skills against a strong Indian team. We would have probably batted as well, could be slightly tough to bat under lights, but we now need to bowl well and restrict them to a low score. The conditions are similar to what we have at home and it's a surface which our (four) pacers can exploit," added Bavuma.
The square boundaries in the stadium are at 82 metres on one side and 77 metres on the other side while straight down the ground dimensions are 75 metres. The match will be played on the pitch where the Pakistan-Netherlands match happened earlier in the day. It is also the last game Perth Stadium will be hosting in the tournament.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Deepak Hooda, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Temba Bavuma (captain), Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram, Tristan Stubbs, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.