SA v IND, 3rd ODI: KL Rahul-led India look to bounce back and clinch rare series win in South Africa

SA v IND, 3rd ODI: KL Rahul-led India look to bounce back and clinch rare series win in South Africa

When India plays South Africa in the ODI series decider at Boland Park on Thursday, December 21, they will be hoping to recover and win just the second-ever ODI series. India shared the honors thus far, winning the first ODI in Johannesburg by eight wickets, but losing the second by the same amount in Gqebera.

As their stars, such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kagiso Rabada, are getting ready for the forthcoming two-match Test series that begins on December 26, neither South Africa nor India have a full-strength squad.

With Aiden Markram and KL Rahul captaining comparatively inexperienced teams, a series finale that lacks background information seems like the perfect way to liven things up on Thursday.

India has played seven bilateral ODI series in South Africa; they have only triumphed once, in a six-match series that took place in 2018 under Virat Kohli. KL Rahul led the Lucknow Super Giants to a series victory on Thursday, but he will be looking to exact revenge for losing to them 3-0 in 2022.


The 2nd ODI at St George’s Park was largely overshadowed on Tuesday by the IPL 2024 mini-auction in Dubai. The Indian broadcaster was constantly changing the live match to different channels, and updates from the Dubai auction room dominated the commentary as well.

Amidst the Coca-Cola Arena auction, the youthful talent of South Africa rose to the occasion and successfully leveled the series. While Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh combined for nine wickets to destroy the South African batting lineup in the first ODI, they were ineffective in Gqeberha as South Africa easily chased down a 212-run target, led by opener Tony de Zorzi’s maiden ODI century.

Sai Sudharsan has played well for India, scoring fifty in his first two One-Day Internationals. Sai appeared at ease on a pitch that featured an uncomfortably high bounce, but in the second ODI, Lizaad Williams hit him with a beautiful delivery. The Indian batting unit was dominated by South African pacers, especially left-armer Nandre Burger, who has a contract with the Rajasthan Royals. KL Rahul also scored a smooth fifty, but none of the other batsmen were able to get going.


Although Ruturaj Gaikwad’s T20I century against Australia ignited the Indian domestic season, the Chennai Super Kings opener has not fared well in the series. Ruturaj has been dismissed LBW in both of his innings, scoring 4 and 5. In the first ODI, Wiaan Mulder hit him, but in the second, left-armer Burger hit him with a more comprehensive inswinger.

Ruturaj needs to step up and perform if he wants to maintain selectors’ interest in him in the ODI format. Ruturaj has only managed 115 runs in 6 ODIs; given the competition in all formats for the opening spot, the Maharashtra batsman’s time may be running out.

Ruturaj is worth its weight in gold if he gets another chance and runs in a decider.

Tilak Varma, on the other hand, has played four matches in South Africa and has yet to light up the series. As India wants to give the Royal Challengers Bangalore star, who has returned from a protracted injury layoff, a chance to play for the first time in the series, the left-hander may give way to Rajat Patidar.

After rejoining the team after the World Cup, Sanju Samson was given the chance to bat in the second ODI. However, the veteran player wasted the chance, hitting for 12. 

In the series finale, KL Rahul will be looking for more from his batsmen, but Rinku Singh looked good for his 17 off 14 balls in his ODI debut.


Although they appeared uninteresting in the second match due to slightly flatter conditions, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan had a good time in the first ODI. It is anticipated that the two young talents will have another opportunity, and India may wish to rest Mukesh Kumar prior to the Test series.

But in the series finale, India might try to give leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal a chance. Since his return from an injury setback, Axar Patel has not had many opportunities. The left-arm spinner may get another chance even though he had trouble with rhythm in the second ODI. Additionally, Washington Sundar has been preheating the benches.

In the second ODI, South Africa used a four-man pace attack, and while everyone did well, they might be tempted to bring back spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for the final.


In the final, India may choose to start with three spinners because the Paarl pitch is predicted to be a little slower than the other South African venues. Are we going to witness Kul-cha’s comeback? Recall that India’s 2018 series win in South Africa was largely due to the two spinners.

Thursday is predicted to be a scorching day in the city with no interruptions during the game.

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