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This ODI series between South Africa and India is turning out to be a bit of nightmare for the hosts. They have suffered injuries to their leading players and have been completely outplayed by a dominant Indian outfit. Now, trailing 2-0 in this 6 match series, the South Africans are faced with the prospect of winning all four remaining matches to win the series or a minimum of 3 matches to share the honors.
The South Africans were already reeling from the loss of AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis but the bad news has not ended for them quite just. Quinton de Kock has been ruled out of the remaining limited-overs matches after a finger related injury he picked up in the second match. While de Villiers and du Plessis were in excellent form and scoring runs, de Kock has been going through a horror phase and has been unable to pass fifty even once on this tour.
This latest injury has meant that South Africa will have to reshuffle their batting order and bring in another inexperienced player into the playing eleven. Heinrich Klassen, the only specialist keeper as backup in the squad, is set to make his debut. He is also an aggressive batsman, albeit right-hander, and one who will bat in the middle order rather than up top.
The new South African skipper, Aiden Markram, will move back up to the top of the batting order and either every remaining batsman will move one place up or Khaya Zondo will shift up to 3 to help keep some sort of stability.
It is a testament to the strength of the South African side that even with AB de Villiers, Faf de Plessis, and Quinton de Kock missing their batting is still pretty formidable. Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and David Miller are all proven world class batsmen in the ODI format while Aiden Markram himself is capable of doing great things with the bat himself.
Khaya Zondo was good against the spinners in his brief innings and we have all seen what Chris Morris can do when he gets in. The South Africans have to find a way to rotate the Indian spinners around without taking too many risks and they will be a force to be reckoned with.
We think that the South Africans will persist with the same bowling lineup that they played in the last match and give Tabraiz Shamsi another go. He is a genuine wicket-taker and even though he will find the Indians better players of spin than most people, he could potentially run through the lower order of the Indian side.
Chris Morris, Morne Morkel, and Kagiso Rabada must find some way to get fired up and make their presence felt because right now the Indians are just batting without any sort of pressure on them. South Africa has had a great run in the limited overs format but they have not come across a side like India up until now.
Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Khaya Zondo, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.
Even the most ardent of Indian fans would not have thought that India would dominate the South Africans to this extent in the ODI format. While the first match was comfortable for the Indians, the second was an absolute walk in the park. Consigning South Africa to their lowest total ever in their own country and then chasing it down with almost 30 overs to spare is something that Indian fans will savor for a long time.
India now has an excellent chance to win the third match and ensure that they cannot lose this ODI series. Not only are they in excellent form but they also have the advantage of playing an opposition that is now missing three of its key players.
The story of the series so far has been India’s wrist-spinners. Volumes are being written about the manner in which Chahal and Yadav flight the ball, the speed at which they bowl, the amount of turn they generate, and the backing that they get from the captain.
They have so far completely overwhelmed the South African batsmen and outbowled their spin bowling counterparts by a vast degree. Can South Africa come with some new plans to try and counter them this time around?
We think that the spinners from India should expect a tougher challenge in the upcoming matches as the South Africans work out their tactics. Expect less of mindless slogging and more of working the ball for singles.
The second match of the series also saw Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah return to their best. They bowled a tight line and did not allow the openers to get away. They have so far not really been tested at the death but that has traditionally been their strongest forte.
Only Hardik Pandya continues to leak runs and must work harder to justify his position as a genuine all-rounder. The Indian batting has looked good in this series and there is no chance for any change being instituted right now.
Dhawan, Rohit, and Kohli make up a fearsome top-3, while Rahane, Dhoni, Jadhav, and Pandya are all very capable batsmen as well. India has instituted a flexibility in their lineup which will see the batting order change as per the needs of the situation.
India is now the joint top-ranked ODI team in the world and they are playing like it.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, V Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal, JJ Bumrah.
A partly cloudy day with a very small chance of rain has been forecast for match day. This means that the teams should be able to play an uninterrupted match. The pitch for the Test Match was very testing but we expect a flat batting pitch for the ODI. The last match played here saw 220 being defended thanks to some excellent spin bowling in South Africa’s domestic ODI competition.
We think this will be a flatter batting track and will offer next to nothing for the bowlers.
It is difficult to look past India’s form and the turmoil in the South African camp. This Indian team is rewriting history and we expect it to add another win to its name in the 3rd ODI.
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