New Delhi: South Africa, are one of those sides, who are known to play quality cricket all across the world. As they lock horns with MS Dhoni-led India in the three-match T-20 series beginning from October 2, despite the loss in the warm-up game against India A, Faf du Plessis and his boys would be confident since they are not alien to Indian conditions.
While the home advantage usually works in the favour of the hosts, it is something which might not work against South Africa since most of their players are acclimitised to the Indian conditions, especially for the shortest format of the game.
AB de Villiers plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Faf du Plessis plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), David Miller plays for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Imran Tahir, Albie Morkel, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy play for Delhi Daredevils (DD), Chris Morris plays for Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Marchant de Lange plays for the Mumbai Indians. Since most of these players have switched franchises in the past, they are aware of the behaviour of different pitches across India.
The experienced South African players like AB, Duminy, Faf, Tahir, Morkel and Miller are match-winners for their respective franchises in the cash-rich tournament.
AB de Villiers was the fourth highest run-scorer in IPL 2015, with 513 runs from 16 matches, just 49 less than David Warner, who topped the list with 562 runs from 14 innings. Duminy and Faf ended up at 11th and 13th positions with 414 and 380 runs respectively.
In the bowling department, even though Imran Tahir picked just 10 wickets in 2015, not to forget he played just 10 matches. In the same season, David Wiese picked 13 wickets from 14 matches and also delivered some handy performances with the bat for RCB. The South African selectors would have picked Wiese in their 15-man T20 squad keeping his performance in the IPL at the back of their minds, however an injury has deprived the all-rounder of the opportunity.
While the Indian players know these players in and out, the South Africans too, would be aware of the weaknesses and strengths of India's key players since they share the same dressing room.
While T20s are expected to be far more competitive, it remains to be seen which of the team can make the best use of their IPL experience.