Time is running out for Sanju Samson as India take on South Africa in the third ODI. Here is their predicted XI.
With the three-match series level at 1-1, India face South Africa in the decider, at Boland Park in Paarl on Thursday. The visitors began the series with an eight-wicket victory and took a 1-0 lead. But the hosts staged a comeback in the second ODI, claiming an eight-wicket victory to level the series 1-1.
After disappointing in the first ODI, the Proteas gave India a reality check in the second ODI. Chasing 212, South Africa raced to 215/2 in 42.3 overs, courtesy of a maiden century from opener Tony de Zorzi (119*) and a half-century from Reeze Hendricks (52). Meanwhile, Rinku Singh and Arshdeep Singh scalped a dismissal each for the visitors.
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Initially, India were bowled out for 211 in 46.2 overs, with Sai Sudharsan (62) and KL Rahul (56) getting half-centuries. For the South African bowling department, Nandre Burger scalped three dismissals.
In the final ODI, Ruturaj Gaikwad will be expected to open the innings with Sai Sudharsan. Gaikwad has been in poor form in this series, registering scores of 5 and 4. He will be hoping to bounce back to form. Sudharsan, on the other hand, has bagged back-to-back half-centuries.
Tilak Varma will slot in at no. 3 and has shown a lot of promise, but is yet to fulfil it. He was dismissed for 10 off 30 in the second ODI. KL Rahul, who is captaining India in the ODI series, will bat at no. 4 and was in good form at the 2023 ODI World Cup. In the previous match, he bagged a half-century (56).
Sanju Samson will take up the wicketkeeper role, and will bat at No. 5. He was dismissed for 12 off 23 balls in the previous match and will look to make an impact. Rinku Singh took a wicket in the last match, but his expertise is batting in death overs. So, he will once again take up that role and will bat at No. 6.
All-rounder Axar Patel will bat at No. 7, and will share the spin responsibilities with Kuldeep Yadav, who will bat at No. 8.
There could be a change in the pace-bowling department considering the Test series is knocking on the doors. Mukesh Kumar, who has played every match of the series so far may get a breather from the decider to prepare for the Test series. In his place, his Bengal teammate Akash Deep could get his India cap. Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan will, of course, lead the pace attack.
India’s predicted XI vs South Africa in third ODI:
Openers: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan
Middle and top-order: Tilak Varma, KL Rahul (c), Sanju Samson (wk)
Power-hitter: Rinku Singh
All-rounder: Axar Patel
Spinner: Kuldeep Yadav
Pacers: Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar