A historic series triumph sealed, India are expected to put their bench strength to test while a vanquished South Africa would aim for a consolatory win when the two sides square off in the sixth and final ODI, on Friday.
The sixth ODI between India and South Africa will be played in Centurion and the live broadcast will be shown on Sony Ten Network, starting 4:30 PM. The match can be streamed online on Sony Liv.com. For live scores, updates, and analysis, you can follow our live blog on cricketnext.com.
The Men in Blue have already won the six-match series with a 4-1 margin, after victories in Durban, Centurion, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Their only loss came at the rain-affected fourth ODI in Johannesburg.
With victory in the last game, India also confirmed their No.1 spot in the ICC ODI Rankings, taking over from South Africa who were sitting atop at the start of this series.
Having won the series, India would like to carry on momentum, especially with the three-match T20I series to follow soon after. Yet, the visitors would also like to find a balance between going all out in a dead rubber and resting a few players keeping in mind a long overseas schedule later this year.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has nearly played non-stop since the limited-overs leg of the tour of Sri Lanka, featuring in 19 ODIs and six T20Is as well as two Tests on this tour. Jasprit Bumrah too has played 20 ODIs since that Lanka tour, along with eight T20Is and his workload has only increased given that he played through the Test series here as well. Some rest will do both of them some good especially ahead of the next contest.
Alternately, India’s second line of pace attack needs some attention. Since that Sri Lanka tour, the Men in Blue have played 20 ODIs and the Kumar-Bumrah duo has not featured together in only one of them – at Bengaluru against Australia.
One way to look at this is the splendid job they have done as the foremost new-ball pairing in limited-overs’ cricket.
The other way, of course, is that Team India is too dependent on them and should look to build back-up options, given the preparatory mode for the 2019 World Cup.
Mohammed Shami has only played three ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. Ever since he returned from injury, he has featured twice against West Indies (2017) and then once against Australia.
Shardul Thakur, the fourth pacer in this current squad, has only ever played in two ODIs. It suffices to say that India currently do not have a reliable second-choice pace attack and despite the success of Kumar-Bumrah combination, this aspect needs urgent attention.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.
South Africa: Aiden Markram (capt), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khayelihle Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), AB de Villiers.
Match starts at: 4.30 pm IST.