The final ODI of the India-South Africa series promises to be a thrilling affair as the two teams lock horns at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, in Delhi today with the series on the line.
Both teams will look to put their best foot forward as the two teams have plenty to gain from the match. South Africa’s desperate for a win as it will not only help the Proteas win the series in India but also gain some crucial Super League points, helping them with their qualification in the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup.
India will hope that the Indian captain Shikhar Dhawan and opener Shubhman Gill perform brilliantly to throw in their hats for the ODI World Cup next year to be played in front of the home crowd.
South Africa are currently placed in 11th place on the Super League points table, but a win would move them up to ninth, ahead of Sri Lanka and Ireland, and only nine points behind the West Indies in eighth place – the cut-off for direct entry for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
A win here will give South Africa the chance they so gravely need. With five matches remaining, they might just be able to avoid adding World Cup qualifiers next June if they score 10 points.
As per the points tally, only Sri Lanka has a substantial chance of catching them. India have ticked most of its boxes with fantastic performances coming from the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Kishan, Mohammad Siraj, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, and last match debutant Shahbaz Ahmed.
The Proteas will also be wary of the fact that their head coach Mark Boucher will relinquish his role as the team’s coach after the T20 World Cup and the India series will be his last bilateral series.
The team will also hope for the captain Temba Bavuma to find form before the T20 World Cup as the batter has been able to score only 11 runs in four innings since recovering from the elbow injury that sidelined him for three months.
He then sat out the last match with illness and desperately needs time in the middle. South Africa won the first ODI by 9 runs in a rain-curtailed match, with India running them close, thanks to a brilliant display of batting by Sanju Samson.
David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen starred with the bat for South Africa helping them put up a formidable total.
The Indian team put on a clinical performance in the second ODI to hand the Proteas a crushing 7-wicket defeat and tie the series 1-1. Shreyas Iyer smashed a brilliant unbeaten century to take India home with Ishan Kishan narrowly missing out on a century.
Over the weekend, heavy rain poured in Delhi, causing waterlogging and traffic jams, as well as threatening to wash out the series finale.
The forecast for Tuesday has been significantly improved, with the possibility of rain reducing from 40 per cent in the morning to roughly 15 per cent later on, although the teams may still face a curtailed match. Should play begin, expect a surface that will provide more to the quicks than what we have seen so far.