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|AB de Villiers||30||34||4||0||88.24|
India completed a historic victory over South Africa as they won their first ever series in South Africa. The nature of the victories and the utter dominance that India has shown should not be underestimated. This is a strong South African side that has been shaken badly by this defeat and will need to look at their plans as they build towards the World Cup in 2019. There is still one match remaining in this series, though, and even though it is a dead rubber, both teams will want to end with a win as they go towards the T20 Internationals.
It looks like South Africa has not learned much from its defeats in this series as an all too familiar tale played out. The South African bowlers were ineffective against the Indian top-3, made a comeback towards the end of the inning and kept the Indians to a score much below than what they looked likely to get.
It was now time for the South Africans batsmen to complete the job but they fell away against the wrist spinners. Hashim Amla was anchoring the inning during the South African chase and the hosts had a reasonable chance until he was in, but his run-out changed the game completely.
What can South Africa do in the final ODI?
They can start with getting their selections right because we could not understand their thinking in the last game. Klassen at 6, Phehlukwayo at 7, followed by four bowlers all of whom could number 11’s in other teams.
Chris Morris has not performed well with the bat but he cannot be replaced by a pure bowler without decreasing the batting depth of the South African team significantly. Maybe giving Farhaan Behardien a chance will dawn on the Proteas at this late stage.
Also, time is running out for JP Duminy, who continues to underperform and surely cannot be guaranteed a spot in the World Cup squad just now.
We would ideally like to see Imran Tahir play in place of Phehlukwayo and Behardien replace Ngidi for the last match. This will give South Africa a potent spin attack on a pitch that took a lot of turn last time around and bolsters their batting as well.
Of course, Both Shamsi and Tahir struggled to make an impact in the 2nd ODI played at the same venue, so South Africa could just decide to stick with the same bowling unit and just swap out Phehlukwayo for Behardien.
South Africa will be low on morale and the new skipper is finding life difficult. India is not the cakewalk that Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe were for the Proteas and the hosts will have to raise every part of their game if they are to be competitive.
The best that they can hope for at the moment is for some individual brilliance from someone like AB de Villiers.
Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, AB de Villiers, Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi.
Virat Kohli and his men can be proud of achieving what no other Indian team has been able to do before them. They have come into this series with a clear to attack and to expose South Africa’s weakness against spin.
The manner in which they have succeeded has probably surprised even their most ardent of supporters. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have absolutely destroyed the South African batting taking 30 wickets between them. Jasprit Bumrah has been brilliant with the new ball, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been fair, and Hardik Pandya has shown that he can carry the burden of the fifth bowler under most situations.
Virat Kohli has harped on needing a good bowling attack to win abroad and that is exactly what he now possesses. Of course, the fact that he is in supreme form himself helps. Kohli has got two centuries, a score of 75, and two starts where he looked completely at ease until getting out. To say that he is the best batsman in the ODI format is just stating the obvious.
India has been fortunate that their top-3 have masked the inability of the middle order to come together. For a long while now, India has been looking for a strong 4 and 5. Rahane played one good inning but has not cemented his spot. Shreyas Iyer looks a touch out of place in the middle order, and Dhoni is a waning force.
Hardik Pandya can win you matches with the bat but he is not going to do it too regularly.
We believe the last match is the perfect time to give Manish Pandey a go in the lower middle order. Perhaps resting Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and playing Mohammad Shami or Shardul Thakur instead could be a good idea as well.
Maybe Karthik in place of Dhoni or as a specialist batsman at 4 could be tried as well but that is highly unlikely.
It is not often that India has the opportunity to go into a match in South Africa with the series already sewn up and so they must take this opportunity to give their squad some experience. Of course, as Virat Kohli has said, this will not come at the expense of the team trying to win.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, V Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, SN Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal.
Some amount of rain is once again forecast for this match although the outlook is slightly better than it was for the last match. Since the last match went off without a hitch, this one will probably end up being deluged with rain!
In the event that we can get some cricket in, the spinners are expected to play a leading role at SuperSport Park once again. The pitch will be good for batting, a little on the slower side with some turn on offer. Scores of around 280-300 should be considered par.
India has supreme confidence going into this match and the South Africans do not seem to have much to counter. We think the only chance that South Africa has to win this match is if the rain intervenes and makes this a shortened game allowing their batsmen to take chances against the spinners without worrying about losing their wickets. Of course, someone like AB de Villiers could play a blinder and take the game away as well.
In all probability, though, India will record a 5-1 series victory against the South Africans.