The one day format turns out to be a nightmare for the South Africa team. They already lost first two ODI of the series.
The third match will be played on Wednesday without the core South African batsmen AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock.
India is in the driver’s seat with all their departments in good shape. The batting has been solid (though the lower-middle order is yet to be tested), the bowling, led by wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, has been brilliant while the fielding has been razor sharp
Not surprisingly then, India is being considered outright favourites when they square off against South Africa in the third ODI on Wednesday.
India eased to a 6-wicket win in the first match at Durban and then absolutely crushed the hosts in the second ODI at Centurion, winning the match by 9 wickets after bowling out the opposition for just 118.
Moreover, India has looked much sharper on the field than South Africa, who have had to do without the services of AB de Villiers in Durban and Centurion.
The world’s number two-ranked batsman will also miss the third ODI in Cape Town. Skipper Faf du Plessis, who scored 120 in the opening ODI, was ruled out of the remainder of the limited-overs series due to injury while Quinton de Kock was sidelined from the last four ODIs and the following T20I series after sustaining a wrist injury.
Aiden Markram, who made his ODI debut late last year and had played only two ODIs before Sunday, was appointed the stand-in skipper in just his third match at Centurion but failed to inspire his troops.
To add to South Africa’s woes, experienced players like Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, David Miller and Morne Morkel have failed to fire. Kagiso Rabada has been the only South African bowler to show some spark.
Newlands is a South African fortress – they have won 28 of 33 ODIs played at this venue and the pitch suits their style of play.
It will be sweet revenge for Kohli if India can win the Cape Town ODI – to take an unbeatable lead in a venue which has traditionally not been a happy hunting ground for Indian teams, would be one of the crowning moments in the young captain’s career.