India eye runs from top-order in series-deciding third ODI against SA Paarl (South Africa) | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: India’s hopes of winning their second ODI series in South Africa will depend on a strong start from the openers in the third and final match in Paarl on Thursday. The first two matches followed a similar plot of a faltering opening combination.
In the Rainbow nation, India’s last ODI series victory was in 2018, and they need a strong start from both Ruturaj Gaikwad and B Sai Sudharsan to have another one.
With scores of 55 and 62 in his first two games in the series, Sai Sudharsan has looked good. However, Gaikwad was unable to assist him from the opposite side.

At Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, India’s first-wicket alliance collapsed at 23 and 4, with the right-hander falling for five and four.
On the other hand, South African openers Tony de Zorzi (who made his first century) and Reeza Hendricks killed the chase with a combined 130 runs.
In a similar vein, Tilak Varma, whose career had some early promise, appeared to have petered out in the previous few months.
The powerful left-hander seems to have carried his struggles to South Africa as he battled to reach his best in the home T20I series against Australia. Here, the batter from Hyderabad has not yet reached his best.
India does not have Shreyas Iyer in the middle-order to support the innings, therefore Gaikwad and Varma, unless he is replaced by the uncapped Rajat Patidar for tomorrow’s encounter, need to find their range again. For Madhya Pradesh, the 30-year-old Patidar typically bats at No. 4.
After the first one-dayer, Iyer had participated in an inter-squad match to get ready for the next Test series.
The Boland Park surface, which frequently leans towards batsmen, can provide some comfort, nevertheless, for these top order batsmen.
The bounce of the Port Elizabeth pitch was a little inconsistent, especially in the first innings, while the Paarl deck frequently provides true bounce and carry, which allows batters to swing freely and hit with no fear.
It might also nudge the think-tank to give another chance to free-hitting Sanju Samson, who got out for 12 in the last match, and the Kerala cricketer donning the big gloves at Port Elizabeth could be an indication of that.
Prior to the third ODI, India had a minor worry with their bowling unit. Mukesh Kumar needs to put on his hitting armor as soon as possible because he hasn’t taken a wicket in his last two games.
After Tony de Zorzi, the Proteas opener, brute forced him through the on-side with powerful hacks, the Bengal player found the going tough.
In the first match, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan performed an impeccable demolition job; in the second match, the former maintained his frugal nature.
To put South Africa off balance, Mukesh must establish a rhythm with the new ball and take a wicket or two early on.
The management of the squad may also consider allowing veteran leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, whose tour of South Africa ends tomorrow, a match.
He had been playing well lately for Haryana in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
It is yet to be seen, though, if the management can persuade Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav to leave for Chahal.
The spin combo of Kuldeep and Axar would like to accrue as much game time as possible to their names as they have both been selected for the Test series.
The left-handed De Zorzi’s performance may have given South Africa hope that they would find the perfect, long-term replacement for Quinton de Kock.
The Proteas will be hoping that fast bowler Nandre Burger, who was also very explosive with the new ball, can give the Indians another rough game.
Squads:
India: KL Rahul (captain, WK), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Akash Deep
South Africa: Aiden Markram (captain), Nandre Burger, Tony de Zorzi, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Mihlali Mpongwana, Wiaan Mulder, Beuran Hendricks. Rassie van der Dussen, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lizaad Williams, Kyle Verreynne
(With PTI inputs)

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