SA vs IND, 3rd ODI | Five Player Battles to Watch Out For

image-lqdrv3y2South Africa won the second ODI in Gqeberha [AP]

The Men in Blue, led by KL Rahul, will aim to make a strong comeback after a humiliating loss in the second ODI and secure the series victory as they face South Africa in the decisive third ODI at Boland Park in Paarl on Thursday (December 21).

Having claimed a convincing 8-wicket triumph in the series opener at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, India found themselves 1-0 ahead on Sunday (December 17). However, Aiden Markram's South African team bounced back in the second ODI, registering an 8-wicket win to level the series.

In this series, we've seen a few new rivalries brewing, with young players in both teams. As they meet for the final time in one-dayers, let's look at the top player battles to watch out for in the Paarl ODI.

Tony de Zorzi vs Arshdeep Singh

image-lqdrmpa5Tony de Zorzi notched up his maiden ton in Gqeberha. (AP)

Arshdeep Singh has been absolutely sensational in this series. He started with a five-wicket haul in the first ODI at Johannesburg, dismantling the South African top-order. 

However, the home side mounted a strong comeback in Gqeberha, propelled by Tony de Zorzi's remarkable 119, marking his maiden international century. 

As De Zorzi enters the Paarl ODI with heightened confidence, Arshdeep, aiming to redeem himself after a challenging second ODI, will be eager to make a statement. The impending duel between these two in-form players promises to be a captivating encounter and is not to be overlooked.

Beuran Hendricks vs Sanju Samson

image-lqdrnm80Beuran Hendricks in action [AP]

Hendricks, stepping in as a last-minute replacement for Ottniel Baartman, had an immediate impact, securing two wickets while conceding only 34 runs in his 9.2 overs. Among the two dismissals, one included the fan's favourite Sanju Samson.

Batting at the fifth position, Samson initially appeared a bit out of touch, requiring some time to settle on the pitch. However, his 23-ball stint came to an end at the hands of the seasoned Hendricks, who dismissed him in the 32nd over. 

The delivery from Hendricks had an outward movement, prompting Samson to attempt a hesitant drive through the off side. With a slight delay in timing, Samson inside-edged the ball, leading to the disturbance of the stumps.

Rinku Singh vs Keshav Maharaj

image-lqdroickRinku Singh got out cheaply in his debut ODI match. (AP)

South Africa's ace spinner, Keshav Maharaj, has experienced a relatively subdued ODI series, securing just two wickets thus far. 

Nonetheless, his dismissal of Rinku Singh in the 2nd ODI proved pivotal, altering the course of the game as the Indian batter was finding his rhythm with two fours and a six already to his credit. 

Eager for redemption, Rinku is poised to seek payback in Paarl, aiming to settle the score against one of the most skilled bowlers in white-ball cricket.

Kuldeep Yadav vs Aiden Markram

Since his return to the ODI set-up, Kuldeep has emerged as a formidable force, showcasing an enhanced skill set that adds to his threat on the field. In the first game, the left-arm wrist spinner secured one wicket but faced challenges in the second ODI as De Zorzi aggressively targeted him. 

Eager to make a significant impact in the final ODI, Kuldeep seeks to overcome his previous inefficiencies. Markram must be prominently featured on Kuldeep's list of potential dismissals.

Markram's historical performance against Kuldeep in ODIs is subpar, having fallen to the Indian spinner three times in 40 balls, with no boundaries scored against him by the Proteas batter.

Ruturaj Gaikwad vs Nandre Burger

image-lqdrqjowRuturaj Gaikwad had a poor outing in Gqeberha [AP]

Gaikwad has faced a batting slump in this series, encountering dismissals with single-digit scores in both instances. However, these two brief innings do not accurately reflect Ruturaj's overall performance in recent months.

With a recent international century to his credit, Ruturaj has showcased his sensational batting skills. Despite a falter in the first ODI, Gaikwad is determined to bounce back with a substantial score in the crucial third ODI.

Nandre Burger, who marked his debut in the initial game, succeeded in dismissing Gaikwad early in the second ODI. Eager to replicate his success, the left-arm pacer aims to unsettle the Indian opener once more in the upcoming match. Burger's knack for claiming early wickets will be employed to target Ruturaj and disrupt his innings early on, continuing the series narrative.

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