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Dominant India eye series sweep

A chance for the hosts to try out reserves
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 21:18 IST

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The bowlers got the better of the batters (except Smriti Mandhana) in the first ODI while the batters overwhelmed the bowlers (no exceptions here) in the second game. 

And in both these clashes, the efforts of the Indians were rewarded with a win over South Africa to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI leg of the all-format series here. 

As the two teams face each other for the third and the final 50-over contest at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday, the focus will lie mostly on individual performances and team dynamics more than the result that is now inconsequential, at least for the hosts. 

The anxiety of facing a confident side was evident from the word go in the Indian camp. But having sealed the deal, the home team will step onto the field not only looking to play with more liberty but also to fine-tune the loopholes in the side. 

One of the main concerns for coach Amol Muzumdar is opener Shafali Verma’s form. The explosive 20-year-old barely looked like her natural self. The glaring discomfort resulted in Shafali staying at the crease for a mere 13 minutes (7 runs in 12 balls) and 46 minutes (20 in 38) in the two games respectively. With less pressure in the third game, it will be interesting to see if the youngster finds a way to turn the tables.

Games such as these have seen the leading side experiment with player combinations. While pacer Arundathi Reddy was handed her ODI debut on Wednesday, six years after playing her first T20I for India, others warming the benches in the first two games could get a chance to make it to the playing XI. The most significant among them will be bowling all-rounder and local girl Shreyanka Patil.

For the visitors, whose previous outing could be dubbed as unfortunate, their last assignment here in the city will be all about gaining valuable points to make the direct qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup.

With India and Australia already qualified, the Proteas need to stay in the top four positions to earn a direct entry. The Laura Woolvardt-led side are currently third on the 10-team table having played 20 games with 11 wins, eight losses and a draw to accumulate 23 points. A win on Sunday will take them to the second spot. 

This is reason enough for the South Africans to come out all guns blazing. And close encounters such as the four-run loss on Wednesday is sure to do more good than harm for a squad always seeking the positives.

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Published 22 June 2024, 21:18 IST

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