India will play for pride in the third and final One-Day International against South Africa at the Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday. Having already lost the three-match series, the Indian team will hope to end, what has been a disappointing tour, with a win. India’s middle-order has been a concern and it has clearly reflected in the first two games in Paarl. Meanwhile, in the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah has managed to give a tough fight to the Proteas batters while the rest of the bowlers have leaked runs. India could make wholesale of changes and test their bench strength in the dead rubber.
Ahead of the third and final ODI, let’s take a look at how India could line-up at Newlands in Cape Town:
1. Shikhar Dhawan
Despite not playing much cricket off late, Shikhar Dhawan looked in decent touch in the first two ODIs. He, however, failed to convert the good starts into big scores, losing his wicket on 79 and 29 in the first two ODIs. The veteran batter is likely to retain his place in the playing XI, and would want to make the most of it by scoring a big knock.
2. KL Rahul (captain)
After a disappointing outing in the first ODI, KL Rahul showed glimpses of his class in the second ODI, scoring a fine half-century. With Rohit Sharma likely to return for the white-ball series against the West Indies, Rahul would aim to end the tour on a high.
3. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli’s place in the playing XI is never a doubt despite some mediocre outings in the recent past. The 33-year-old batter has had a mixed a series in terms of runs scored so far. After scoring a fine 50 in the first ODI, he was dismissed for a five-ball duck in the second match. All eyes will be on him once again as he looks to end his century drought.
4. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad could get the nod ahead of Shreyas Iyer as India look to test their bench strength in a dead rubber. The Maharashtra batter has been in fine form lately, scoring plenty of runs in the domestic circuit as well as the IPL last year. It will be interesting to see what number he comes out to bat, if included in the XI.
5. Rishabh Pant (wk)
After a quiet innings from him in the first ODI, Rishabh Pant set the stage on fire with his willow in the second ODI. The southpaw scored a brilliant 85, his highest score in an ODI, smashing 10 boundaries and two sixes. He is expected to keep his place in the playing XI for the final match.
6. Suryakumar Yadav
India lacked a bit of firepower in their batting line-up which was quite evident in the first two ODIs. Suryakumar Yadav is expected to get into the team, and will look to strengthen India’s middle-order which has been underperforming for a while. He could replace Venkatesh Iyer in the playing XI.
7. Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur is likely to retain his place in the team for the final game, and deservedly so, having been India’s best player by far in the three-match series so far. Despite not getting much success in the bowling department, Shardul has chipped in with some crucial runs down the order for the Indian team. He scored 50 not out in the first ODI before notching up a 42-run unbeaten knock in the second ODI.
8. Ravichandran Ashwin
The Indian team management is likely to show faith in the veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been decent, if not good in the first two ODIs. Though a little expensive at times, Ashwin is someone who you can always rely on.
9. Deepak Chahar
Jasprit Bumrah is likely to be rested for the final game and Deepak Chahar is expected to fill in for him. Indian bowlers have leaked runs heavily, but just like Bumrah, Deepak is someone who can always maintain the pressure from one end. Plus, he is handy with the bat as well, a facet which India won’t mind having at the moment.
10. Prasidh Krishna
Prasidh Krishna is likely to get the nod ahead of out-of-form pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has leaked runs in the first two games. The lanky pacer played three ODIs against England last year, taking six wickets. He would certainly want to chip in with a few wickets, if given a chance in Cape Town.
11. Yuzvendra Chahal
Despite being fairly economical, Yuzvendra Chahal has not been able to pose much threat to the South African batters in the first two matches, having picked just one wicket so far. He, however, is likely to retain his place in the team, and would also want to end the series on a high.
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