After bringing a screeching halt to South Africa’s 17-match unbeaten run in ODIs, India are sensing a real chance of leapfrogging them to secure the top ICC ODI ranking. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first ODI in Durban, the Men in Blues would hope to get closer to their target in Centurion.
Rohit Sharma- Coming off 2017 with a mammoth 1293 runs under his belt, he is always a threat to the opposition under any conditions. The right-handed batsman started quite promisingly in the last game, hitting Morne Morkel to a massive six, but ran out of luck soon. India will surely want him to stay longer this time as one doesn’t get to have a brilliant third-wicket partnership every day.
Shikhar Dhawan- The southpaw looked in a good touch in Durban following a forgettable Test series, but as luck would have it, he fell prey to a terrible miscommunication with his skipper. However, the opener looked like his old self in his short 35-run knock that included six boundaries and would want to extend it this time.
Virat Kohli- Time and Kohli have always remained remains constant. Like Faf du Plessis, Kohli played a captain’s knock after the early collapse and dragged India out of what looked like a familiar disaster in South Africa. To break India’s voodoo in Durban, the skipper had to bring up his 33rd ODI ton and the Indian fans expect nothing but that in Centurion again.
Ajinkya Rahane- Two assuring back-to-back knocks were enough for the media to look at his potential again, with some even considering him as the best No.4 option for team India now. However, the Mumbaikar knows that he needs to keep his game at an elite level to make amends for a disappointing end to 2017. However, given his good form, Rahane would be preferred ahead of the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey for now.
Kedar Jadhav- Though he didn’t bat in the last game, he was handy with the ball to keep the runs in check in the middle overs. With the wood, he was decent in the middle-order last year scoring 500 runs at an average of 40.07 in 25 matches. He is always a good option to fall back in case the top order falters.
MS Dhoni- Though his role was limited only to help India cross the finishing line last game, after Kohli and Rahane’s hard work, his stats in South Africa prove he can do much more than that. Averaging 25.41, Dhoni has two fifties in the rainbow nation, and his exploits from behind the stumps remain unparalleled.
Hardik Pandya- His job with the bat was similar to Dhoni and given that he was the second most expensive bowler for India too, he would want to improve things in Centurion. However, the flashy Baroda guy makes up for almost all of them with his sharp fielding skills. He was involved in two wickets last game and India have a real asset in the all-rounder.
Yuzvendra Chahal- South Africa hardly looked unsettled even after Hashim Amla was sent packing within 30 runs, and it was Chahal who mainly initiated South Africa’s collapse with two quick wickets of Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram. The hosts could never really recover from it.
Kuldeep Yadav- Yet another brilliant display by the youngster as he remained India’s most lethal weapon claiming three wickets for 34 runs. Though he later admitted to being nervous on his first South African outing, he didn’t compromise on his flighted deliveries and it eventually paid off as the likes of JP Duminy, David Miller, and Chris Morris were completely bamboozled by them.
Jasprit Bumrah- The experiment with the pacer has gone well for India so far and the not so slower pitches there have worked wonders for him. Although he couldn’t get any wicket apart from the very first one in the last game, his impeccable line and length kept South Africa at bay throughout the game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar- India’s main bowler had a forgettable day last game as he remained the most expensive, conceding 71 runs. His absence from the squad, the last time India played in Centurion in 2nd Test, had created a huge fuss. However, he has otherwise been magnificent for the side and we hope the management would stick by him.
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