Venue: Boland Park, Paarl
Date: Friday, 21 January
South Africa – 12/10
India – 7/10
South Africa’s spirits will be high as they go all out to register a second consecutive victory of this ongoing three match ODI series against India and wrap it up with the last match remaining at Newlands Stadium on Sunday.
South Africa have not won an ODI series since they white washed Australia 3-0 in February 2020 and they have since drawn with minnows Ireland away from home and surprisingly lost to Sri Lanka.
On the side of India, they will not want to return home empty handed as they have already lost the Test series 2-1 and Yuzvendra Chahal needs three wickets to become the 23rd Indian player to take 100 wickets in ODIs.
During the highly impressive 31 runs win in the first match on Wednesday, top order batters Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen sparkled with spectacular centuries of 110 and 129* respectively after they batted first.
From the bowling point of view, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Lungi Ngidi picked two wickets each and they are once going to be crucial on Friday with India expected to be in mean mood and looking to return back to winning ways.
In other team news, South Africa will be premier front-line fast bowler Kagiso Rabada who has been rested for the forthcoming Test series of New Zealand but there is cover in the form of left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder George Linde.
Given the impressive manner in which they dealt with India in the first match, South Africa are unlikely to make any changes and spinners Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj going to be key again having shared four wickets among them.
On the side of India, apart from Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Shardul Thakur, none of Indian middle and lower order batters managed to cross the 20-run mark with the bat and they will be looking to improve on that.
A lot will be expected from stand-in skipper KL Rahul, who is leading the team in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, as they look to bounce back and make the final match on Sunday an exciting decider.
In the first match, India lost their at the halfway stage once Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were out in quick succession following their vital partnership of more than 90 runs and they won’t want the repeat of that.
On what is expected to be a slow track where rotating the strike is crucial, middle order batters Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer will have to come to the party and play a bigger role.
The main difference between the two sides in the first match was how the spinners fared because Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal gave away 106 runs for a single wicket in their combined 20 overs.
Boland Park is known to be slow and flat but it has thrown some surprises over the years. So, expect big runs, largely due to the small boundaries despite the heat wave that may see temperatures reach 45C.