3rd ODI: Openers in focus as India look to win series against South Africa | Cricket News. indiabusinessport.com

NEW DELHI: The second-string Indian team would look for some stability from its openers as the hosts aim to punch above their weight and seal a memorable series victory against South Africa in the third and final ODI here on Tuesday.
After going down narrowly in the series-opener, the might of the Indian white-ball depth was in full display as the hosts won the second ODI comfortably to level the three-match series 1-1.
But the Indian think tank would be a little concerned about the opening pair of captain Shikhar Dhawan and young Shubman Gill.
Both batters struggled in the series so far.
One of India’s most consistent ODI batters in last two years, 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.
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 Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan and vice-captain Sanju 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 Jasprit Bumrah in the T20 World Cup squad, has made a strong case for himself.
Spinners Shahbaz Ahmed and Ravi Bishnoi have also had good debuts.
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.
Their batters have also fared well and the onus will be on the likes of Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and David Miller to perform with the willow.
Rain could play spoilsport. The capital has been witnessing heavy downpour since the past three days and there is probability of scattered thunderstorm on Tuesday as well.
Teams (from):
India: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Rajat Patidar, Shahbaz Ahmed and Rahul Tripathi
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje and Andile Phehlukwayo

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