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|Quinton de Kock||26||31||2||2||83.87|
The previous week turned out to be a week of mixed emotions for South Africa's cricket fans. While the men's team completed their second win of the series, thereby sealing the series, the Women's team lost to Australian Women in the ICC Women's World T20 semifinal. As a matter of fact, Men's team as well as the Women's team were both far from favorites going into their respective matches. The same will hold true once again when Australia will take on South Africa in the third match of the series. With series already done and dusted, this match is of little significance as far as series. Having said that, both sides are expected to come hard at each other. South Africa haven't exhibited the kind of dominance they've been showing in this series and would like to end it with a whitewash. A whitewash for Australia, on the other hand, would be pretty embarrasing and they are likely to give it their all as well. Therefore, we are certainly in for another humdinger of a contest. To face off one final time in the series, the two teams will now move to Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, to play the final match on 7th March.
South Africa looked merely a shadow of themselves in the World Cup 2019. With the change in leadership and the composition of their team, they certainly appear to be a more confident as well as a better-balanced unit. Their support staff as well has played a massive role in their transformation. They fought hard against England and then against Australia in the T20s, but could not produce the results. Their strength, however, has been telling against Australia in the ODIs.
Their bowlers were brilliant to defend an under-par total in the first match and batsmen did a wonderful job in the second match. Mark Boucher's faith in Heinrich Klaasen seems to be paying off as he played an instrumental role in both the matches. David Miller after getting an experience of over a hundred games is finally looking consistent. The only problem for Proteas seem to be their misfiring top-order. Quinton de Kock looked in good form in all his short stays at the crease, but failed to convert his starts. It wasn't any different with Temba Bavuma and Kyle Verryene. Janneman Malan answered his critics with a well-compiled unbeaten century in the previous match and will be looking go notch another big one here.
Their bowling, as well, has done brilliantly. Lungi Ngidi, who has picked up nine wickets so far, has looked superb and will be key to South Africa's fortunes once again. South Africa's strategy to go in with two spinners seems to be paying off and they are likely to continue with Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi regardless of the nature of the surface at Potchefstroom.
Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock, JJT Smuts, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, K Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla, D Dupavillon.
Coming into the competition, Australia were favorites of the two sides. However, their vulnerabilites have not only been highlighted, but also been exposed in the two matches so far. They were outplayed in both the matches of the series and now that Mitchell Starc has returned home to watch her wife, Alyssa Healy, play in the Women's World Cup final, their bowling attack seems to lack the tooth.
While it was the poor performance from their middle-order in the first match, it were their top-order batsmen who failed to fire in the second match. Steven Smith and Marcus Labuschagne looked good in the first match, but they both were taken care off pretty easily by the Proteas' bowlers in the second fixture. The inconsistency with which their batsmen have played will certainly be a cause of concern for their management. The fact that D'Arcy Short found some form would give them a bit of confidence, though.
In the two matches, only Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, and Patrick Cummins have looked threatening. With Starc no longer available, it could get even more difficult to contain the Proteas batsmen, not that it already wasn't.
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, D'Arcy Short, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Jhye Richardson, KW Richardson, Adam Zampa, JR Hazlewood.
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Their is a starc contrast on how these two teams have performed in the series so far. While Australia are a stronger side on paper with experience available throughout the lineup, they did not play like one in the first two matches. South Africa, on the other hand, utilized their limited resources to perfection. With almost everyone performing and contributing for the Proteas, beating them would not be easy. It's difficult to separate the two sides on the basis on on-paper composition, but considering the form of both the sides, South Africa seem to be favorites, yet again. Betting on their win still offers excellent risk-reward ratio and should be the way to go in the third ODI of the series.
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