By winning the 3rd unofficial ODI the India A team has taken an unassailable lead in the 5-match series. It was a game that swung like a pendulum as both sides had the opportunity to close the door on each other. In the end, Men in Blue prevailed because of their ability to seize important moments in such situations. Though the series is lost the visitors will want to salvage some pride when they take on the same opposition in the 4th game at the Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram.
It was another dominant show by the home side as the visitors were left high and dry at the end of the game. Though the Indian team had their share of problems they brushed aside their opponents with their persistence and winning belief. Till now their top-order batting and middle-overs bowling have been iffy so the team will be keen to find a solution in the respective aspects. The next two games might be dead rubbers but the youngsters should consider it as one more opportunity to improve their skills.
It seemed that the South African A side ran out of options in a must-win situation. Though they have created chances they have been unable to maintain their positive tempo throughout the game. None of the players have shown the composure in testing times which has resulted in three consecutive losses. Still, they should not be disheartened as things can only improve from here and they just need an inspiring performance within the group.
Shikhar Dhawan will be returning to the fold. He is likely to be paired with Shubman Gill who has been scoring heavily at top of the order. Anmolpreet Singh might get a chance to prove his worth. Shreyas Iyer will shoulder the leadership duties and it will be his responsibility to guide the middle-order along with Sanju Samson. The latter might be promoted as he has the skillset to play long innings.
The presence of Axar Patel provides stability to the playing XI. On a couple of occasions, Shivam Dube has exhibited his hitting capabilities but he needs to work on his bowling. Rahul Chahar will be the wicket-taking option in middle-overs. Ishan Porel can use the new-ball to good effect. The other pacer, Tushar Deshpande will be one of the players to watch out for.
Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Anmolpreet Singh, Shreyas Iyer (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Ishan Porel
Again Reeza Hendricks and Jaaneman Malan will be entrusted to provide a substantial opening partnership. Matthew Breetzke needs to convert his starts. Skipper, Temba Bavuma has not been at his best which has further exposed their batting fragility. One of Khaya Zondo or Kyle Verreynne might get a chance at No.5 slot.
Heinrich Klaasen has been the standout performer for the Proteas. He should be promoted in the batting order as he is a good player of spin. George Linde’s power game will be crucial in the end overs. Bjorn Fortuin will continue as the lead spinner. The trio of Anrich Nortje, Junior Dala, and Lutho Sipamla will be sharing the fast-bowling duties. Particularly they need to control the run-flow in death overs.
Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks, Matthew Breetzke, Temba Bavuma (C), Khaya Zondo/Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, Bjorn Fortuin, George Linde, Junior Dala, Beuran Hendricks/Lutho Sipamla, Anrich Nortje.
The focus will be on
Shikhar Dhawan (India)
The left-hander was a late addition to the squad. He has looked rusty since his return from a thumb injury. Shikhar Dhawan needs a dose of confidence before the upcoming T20 series against South Africa. The southpaw is a proven match-winner and sometimes his attacking style of play can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of overs.
Heinrich Klassen (South Africa)
It is quite evident that most of the South African batsmen have adopted a cautious approach in this series but the same cannot be said about Heinrich Klaasen. The right-hander has made the opposition bowlers think with his range hitting. He has played useful cameos in each of the games. He can also bat at top of the order so the team should utilize him wisely.
Head to Head
Matches played – 19 | India A won – 15 | South Africa A won – 3 | No Result – 1
29 – Number of centuries stroked by Shikhar Dhawan in List-A cricket
64 – Batting average recorded by Shreyas Iyer in last 12 months in List A cricket
TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 9:00 IST and 3:30 GMT
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