A narrow win in Lucknow gave South Africa ten points and lifted their World Cup Super League tally to 59, but they are still 11th, and a long way behind eighth-placed West Indies, who have 88 points.
Given that they have forfeited 30 points by pulling out of the scheduled three-match series in Australia early next year, South Africa’s chances of direct qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup hinge on picking up maximum points from a small number of games.
Even Shikhar Dhawan, who is captaining the side and is arguably an all-time great in ODIs, can’t take his place for granted come the 2023 World Cup. South Africa can expect another dogfight, therefore, when they get on the field on Sunday.
India LWWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
South Africa WLWLW
In the spotlight
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan spent approximately an hour each at the crease in the first ODI, and scored 19 off 42 balls and 20 off 37, respectively, as South Africa’s quicks extracted prodigious seam movement with the new and newish ball. Conditions in Ranchi are unlikely to be as difficult for top-order batters, and Gaikwad and Kishan will hope they can make a better impression against high-quality fast bowling.
Washington Sundar has come into India’s squad as a replacement for Deepak Chahar, who is out with a back issue. With Chahar absent, it is unlikely India will make changes to their pace attack from the first ODI. But they could look at a swap in the spin department, with the allrounder Shahbaz Ahmed potentially coming in for Ravi Bishnoi, who endured a difficult ODI debut in Lucknow.
India (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Sanju Samson (wk), 7 Shardul Thakur, 8 Ravi Bishnoi/Shahbaz Ahmed, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Mohammed Siraj
South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Janneman Malan, 3 Temba Bavuma (capt), 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Wayne Parnell/Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi/Marco Jansen/Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Pitch and conditions
Rain reduced the Lucknow ODI to a 40-overs-a-side contest, and the forecast for Sunday suggests there is a 20% chance of rain in Ranchi as well.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a second-string Indian side. India is blessed with so much talent that they could probably field four to five proper international sides. A lot of the guys in the Indian team have IPL and international experience. Shikhar Dhawan has played numerous ODIs; Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson – the talent that’s in the Indian team, I wouldn’t look at it as weakened. They are still world-class performers out there.”
Keshav Maharaj doesn’t see a second-string India as any weaker