India played with 6 bowlers in the 2ND ODI and won the game comfortably by Seven wickets. Will they stick to the same combination?
IND and South Africa meet each other for the deciding third ODI match at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Tuesday. While the Proteas had won the 1st game, which was reduced to 40 overs-a-side, by 9 runs, the hosts bounced back and registered a dominating Seven-wicket win in the 2nd game. Indian bowlers did a commendable job in the second match, especially in the slog overs. However, it is the poor form of India’s openers — Dhawan and Gill — that would be troubling the side.
Both batters struggled in the series so far.
One of India’s most consistent ODI batters in last two years, Shikhar Dhawan, who is now restricted to playing only the 50-over format, has managed only 17 runs in the series.
The veteran batter will hope to give a better start to the Indian innings in the decider with his eyes set on the ODI World Cup next year.
Shubman Gill, on the other hand, has also been profligate in availing his opportunities at the top. After being cheaply dismissed in the opener, he got a good start in the second ODI but couldn’t convert it into a big score.
The middle order comprising Iyer, Kishan and vice-captain Samson has been solid.
While Iyer and Samson have been consistent, Kishan looked in imperious touch and all three will be eager to continue with their good form as the Indian team management continues to audition players for the ODI World Cup.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Siraj, who has been touted as a possible replacement for injured Bumrah in the T20 World Cup squad, has made a strong case for himself.
While the stakes are not too high for the Indians, it will be a tough test against a full-strength South African side, which would be ravenous for ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points.
The Proteas, who are ranked 11th, are in danger of missing out on direct entry into next year’s 50-over World Cup.
Temba Bavuma, who has been woefully out of form since his return from injury, was rested in the second ODI as he was unwell and it is to be seen if the skipper returns for the decider.
Stand-in skipper keshav maharaj erred in making the right call after the coin landed in his favour in the second ODI as South African bowlers felt helpless against the dew but they will be expected to come all guns blazing in the series finale.