The final ODI of the series between Australia and South Africa is scheduled to take place this Saturday, with the visitors looking to avoid a whitewash in the three-match series. Despite losing the T20I series, South Africa managed to bounce back in the 50-over format of the game as they defeated the 2015 World Cup winners in the first two matches.
Heinrich Klaasen and Janneman Malan proved to be the heroes for the Proteas as both the upcoming stars have scored a century each in the series. Skipper Quinton de Kock lost his wicket for a duck in the second game, yet his team chased down a score of 274 runs which shows that the South African batsmen have batted really well against Australia in the ongoing series.
Given the way they have performed in this series so far, the rainbow nation would love to complete a clean sweep. On the other hand, Australia will try to gain some momentum ahead of their limited-overs series against New Zealand.
Here are the three players to watch out for in this contest.
#3 Alex Carey
Left-handed wicket-keeper batsman, Alex Carey has not been able to play the role of a finisher to perfection. South Africa's finisher, David Miller has been in top form in this series, but his Australian counterpart had a strike rate of 31.25 in the first game, whereas in the second match, he could score only 21 runs.
Carey will be under pressure to score runs in Potchefstroom because the likes of Aaron Finch and David Warner have provided the team with good starts. However, the middle order has failed to capitalize on it.
#2 Keshav Maharaj
Surprisingly, Quinton de Kock has used the team's left-arm spinner, Keshav Maharaj in the powerplay overs during this series and the spin bowler has done his job well. He has kept a check on the run flow as he gave away only 48 runs in the first ODI. In the second match, Maharaj bowled at an economy rate of 5.30.
This shows that the move to bowl Maharaj in the first phase of the innings has paid off well. The left-arm spinner does not allow the batsmen to play freely. However, the team management will expect him to scalp a wicket or two in the third ODI. Maharaj has taken only one wicket in this series and since he is the team's premier spinner, the fans have higher expectations from him.
#1 Pat Cummins
In the absence of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins will have the onus of leading the Australian bowling attack in the final ODI. Starc has returned to Australia in order to catch his wife, Alyssa Healy play in the Women's T20 World Cup final. Hence, Cummins will likely unite forces with Kane Richardson and Josh Hazlewood in the final ODI.
The right-arm fast bowler was the pick of the bowlers in the first ODI as he scalped three wickets in his 10 overs. But during the second match, he could dismiss only one South African batsman. On a pitch where Lungi Ngidi picked up six wickets, the Australian fans would have hoped for a better show from their strike bowler.
Cummins still has one more chance to prove himself and he will have to perform well in Potchefstroom to ensure that the Aussies end this tour with a win.