Ahead of the ODI series against India, South Africa had all the odds in their favor as they had won the Test series, they were also the no.1 ODI team, a 17-match winning run at home and a spotless series record against your opposition. But in a matter of just a week, they not only ended their winning streak but also lost the first two ODIs along with the injury of three crucial players.
Now onto Cape Town, one more defeat and even AB de Villiers’s imminent return in the fourth ODI cannot help win the series. Even, South Africa batting coach Dale Benkenstein is extolling the qualities of ‘intent’: Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal may have gotten 13 of the 20 wickets to fall, but nothing good can come off being passive against them.
It is clear the hosts need to boost up their morale in order to change their fortunes. In that sense, some runs for Markram, Khaya Zondo, and Heinrich Klaasen need to come through. But to keep hopes of a serie0s alive, the hosts wouldn’t say no if the runs came from the Amlas, Millers and the Duminys as well.
While South Africa have been quite, the attention hogs, Team India doesn’t need to make any drastic change. But they will once again keep an eye on how best to utilise fifth-bowler duties, a role shared between Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav.
Pitch and weather conditions
The forecast suggests that the game will not be disrupted by rain but that’s of scant significance in severely drought-hit Cape Town as ‘Day Zero’ nears. As for the pitch itself, the runs will be there for the taking. In the last game played at the venue, exactly a year ago, South Africa and Sri Lanka managed a match-aggregate of 694 runs, with du Plessis scoring a career-best 185.
Considering the team combinations, India have no reason to change the line-up of their playing composition unless the pitch magically a gets a new covering of grass on it. Barring injuries, the eleven should be retained for a third-straight game.
Also read: Dhoni & Kohli to break record in Cape Town
On the other hand, South Africa’s young skipper Markram started at No.4 and three matches in will find himself returning to his opening position. The talented Heinrich Klaasen will play as the wicketkeeper and will play in the middle-order. Given their batting concern, South African could consider opting for the experience of Farhaan Behardien but it cannot come at the expense of the ‘fifth bowler’.
Some stats to look out for:
- After winning the third ODI, Team India will create a record of winning 3 consecutive ODIs against South Africa in a series.
- India’s spinners have taken 13 scalps this series at an average of 11.61 conceding just 3.74 per over. On the other hand, South African spinners are yet to take a wicket and concede at 6.00 per over.
- Morne Morkel has taken 13 wickets in four ODIs at Newlands at 10.92 and takes a wicket every 17.2 balls.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram (c), JP Duminy, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Khaya Zondo, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo/Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir