3 player battles to watch out for in the 3rd SA vs ENG ODI

Temba Bavuma will look to continue his stellar form, even as Reece Topley will have other ideas in the 3rd ODI.
Temba Bavuma will look to continue his stellar form, even as Reece Topley will have other ideas in the 3rd ODI.

A clean sweep is what South Africa will be aiming for as they are set to take on England in the third and final ODI of the series on Wednesday, February 1. The bandwagon has moved from Bloemfontein to Kimberley, with the Diamond Oval set to host the final duel between the two sides.

The hosts have secured an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, which is part of the ICC ODI World Cup Super League. With 20 critical points also under their belt, they have taken a step closer to securing direct qualification for the marquee event in India later this year.

England, on the other hand, have now lost five ODIs on the bounce. The reigning world champions have issues to solve with the World Cup in mind, but in the short-term context, will also want to avoid another series whitewash.

With so much to look forward to, this final ODI is by no means a dead rubber. On that note, here's a look at three player battles that could define which way the final ODI between South Africa and England heads.

#1 Temba Bavuma vs Reece Topley

South African skipper Temba Bavuma has led from the front and made a statement of the highest order this series. With a sensational century in the second ODI that orchestrated a big chase, he has made it clear that he is here to stay and captain the Proteas' ODI outfit.

England will have to find a way to stop him and the answer could come in the form of Reece Topley. The left-arm seamer endured a tough outing on Sunday but does have the ability to swing the new ball back into the right-handed batter.

While Bavuma is a strong player against short deliveries, Topley can mix it up and use his bouncer as a bluff owing to his high release point. The visitors have found it tough to stop the South African skipper and will hope that Topley can get on top of this matchup on Wednesday.

#2 Lungi Ngidi vs Jason Roy

After a sparkling century in the first ODI, Jason Roy failed to get going in the next contest and was kept on his toes by Wayne Parnell and Lungi Ngidi. The latter then got one to jag back in and castle Roy for a lowly score of nine runs.

While the dashing opening batter might have turned up in the series opener, he will know that with the kind of competition for spots in this England side, he needs to back it up with another solid contribution.

Against the seam movement that Ngidi generates, however, it is never going to be an easy task. Should the seamer get it to nip around, he could set the game up for South Africa and pose questions aplenty again to Roy.

#3 Aiden Markram vs Adil Rashid

For a versatile batter with all the shots in the book, Aiden Markram's ODI record has been pretty modest. Coming in at the challenging No. 4 spot, he would want to prove that he remains the right man for that role for South Africa ahead of the ODI World Cup later in the year.

While Bavuma and David Miller hogged the limelight after the Proteas' successful chase, Markram's 43-ball 49 was extremely vital to the same cause in the second ODI. He looked set for plenty more before Adil Rashid unleashed a peach of a wrong 'un to send him packing.

Markram will be tasked with taking care of the middle overs - a phase where Rashid has been prolific for England over the last eight years or so. The third ODI could therefore be defined massively by who goes one upon the other in this particular matchup.

Can South Africa complete a series whitewash over England in Kimberley? Let us know in the comments section below!

Also read: 3 England batters who can score a double hundred in ODIs

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