In the backdrop of the recently-concluded Test series which India lost 2-1 to the hosts, the dynamics of the India and South Africa affairs have taken a 180 degree turn in the ongoing ODI series, with India winning the 1st two matches of the six-ODI series. While India won the 1st ODI in Durban by 6 wickets, they again overpowered the Proteas in Centurion, as they won the 2nd ODI too by 9 wickets. Such big-margin wins were secured due to the excellent performances by some key players, and so we look at 5 key players ahead of the 3rd ODI.
The Indian team which looked like pigeons among crows during the Test series against South Africa, have now stormed the ODI series, making it clear that the Men in Blue are not to be trifled with, be it home or overseas cricket. The South Africa team will be missing two key players from their squad in the 3rd ODI, i.e. Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers.
However, the Indian team will be itching to get another ODI victory with all team players fit as a fiddle. Ahead of the 3rd ODI, we take a look at 5 key players who can single-handedly steer their team to a victory:
The left-handed opening batsman was criticised for a while after he failed to deliver in the Test series against South Africa. However, the limited-overs bully Shikhar Dhawan, has returned, and not without a bang. Dhawan entered the ODI series with a determination to score runs, and that is what he has done in the 1st two ODIs. In the 1st ODI in Durban, the 32-year-old scored 35 runs off 29 balls, but took his batting a few notches higher in 2nd ODI in Centurion, where he scored a well-timed 51 off 56 deliveries, which included 9 boundaries.
With his bat now adhering to strict timing principles and his footwork looking as alive as ever, Shikhar Dhawan will definitely be a key player in India & South Africa’s ODI series.
The India captain seems to always remain in contention to be called a key player for India. No matter how bad a shot Kohli plays sometimes, giving obvious catches to opponent fielders, the 29-year-old Delhi-boy is always looking to come back stronger. Kohli slammed a brilliant 119-ball 112-run knock in the 1st ODI in Durban, pushing his team to a smooth victory. On the other hand, Virat Kohli scored 46 runs not-out in the 2nd ODI, and would have gone for a bigger score, had Dhawan not batted for as long as he did.
India’s first-choice wrist-spinner has started to give a feeling that he will be one of the greatest Indian spinners in the time to come. When Chahal entered the ODI series against South Africa, it was uncertain as to what kind of results would the spinners give. However, Chahal claimed 2 wickets, giving just 45 runs in 10 overs. In the 2nd ODI, Yuzvendra Chahal stepped up his game and dismissed half of the South Africa batting order, as he ended up with 5 wickets in 8.2 overs, giving only 22 runs.
With 7 wickets in two ODI matches, Yuzvendra Chahal is going to be the foremost of the key players for India & South Africa’s remaining One-Day International series.
India’s very own ‘Chinaman’ bowler, Kuldeep Yadav is a young prodigy whose smiling face deceives the opponent of his lethal spin-bowling. The 24-year-old is an excellent bowlers with a simple yet baffling bowling technique. The youngsters might be new to the South African territory, but has admitted that his confidence isn’t fazed easily. If taking an extra wicket means risking 10 more runs, Kuldeep Yadav will go for it without a shadow of doubt.
Yadav was the star and surprise performer of the 1st two ODIs, with 3 wickets to his name from each of them. While he took 3 wickets in the 1st ODI in 10 overs, it only took him 6 overs in the 2nd ODI to dismiss another 3. If that isn’t a key player, then who is?
With Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers out uncertainly, South Africa will have to store all their confidence in one batting star, Hashim Amla. The 34-year-old opening batsman is the only chance that South Africa have got in the batting department, with the Proteas captain absent due to injury, and the other batsmen falling victim to Indian bowlers easily.
Although he scored only 16 and 23 runs in the 1st and 2nd ODI respectively, Amla has proven time and again, that behind the kind face hides the nightmare for all bowlers, who can pile up runs for his team, even in the most adversarial of wickets and situations. Maybe Hashim Amla can step up in the 3rd chapter and remind the Indians that it was him who had dominated the Men in Blue, in the Test series earlier in January.