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Bangladesh will need to pull off something special to avoid defeat in third and final ODI

22 October 2017, 2:15:00

Since Bangladesh have landed on South African shores, everything has gone the home side's way. It won both Tests by massive margins, and has already taken a winning 2-0 lead in the One-Day International series. South Africa will fancy its chances of an ODI sweep too, when the two sides meet for the third and final match on Sunday at Buffalo Park.

South Africa won the first Test by 333 runs, and the second by an innings and 254 runs. Bangladesh got a competitive 278 for 7 in the first ODI, only to see Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla put on 282 runs for the opening wicket. In the second match, the returning AB de Villiers showed no rustiness at all in blasting a career-best 176, off a mere 104 balls. South Africa ran out the visiting side by 104 runs.

South Africa will be without the rested Hashim Amla for the last ODI, and while that will come as some relief to Bangladesh’s bowlers – Amla has plundered 492 runs in two Tests and two ODIs so far – the rest of South Africa’s line-up aren’t the kind that can be shrugged off lightly, particularly with de Villiers back to his inventive best. Aiden Markram, who made a very successful Test debut on this tour, will replace Amla. Source: ICC

Bangladesh isn't without its own missing players. Tamim Iqbal is nursing a thigh injury while Mustafizur Rahman is battling an ankle injury, leaving the team thin at the top in both batting and bowling.

Mustafizur’s absence is likely to hurt Bangladesh more. Its batting has been steady to adequate, but the bowling has lacked teeth. Both Mashrafe Mortaza, the skipper, and Taskin Ahmed have been expensive in the last two games. Shafiul Islam, the medium pacer, has been called in as cover for Mustafizur, and could replace Taskin in the playing XI. On the batting front, Liton Das's failures might mean he makes way for Soumya Sarkar at the top of the order.

South Africa is also likely to have more than the forced change to its XI. Faf du Plessis, the captain, had spoken of giving the fringe players a shot. Markram is set to debut, slotting in for Amla, and it remains to be seen if Willem Mulder, the 19-year old allrounder, will get a game.

South Africa’s bowling, led by Kagiso Rabada, has managed to keep Bangladesh quiet. Andile Phehlukwayo, the medium pacer, and Imran Tahir, the legspinner, have kept the batsmen guessing with their subtle variations.

On paper, and on form, South Africa is the overwhelming favourite after a series of one-sided wins so far. Much will depend on how well Bangladesh can shake itself out of the losing rut.

South Africa: Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (capt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson, Imran Tahir, Temba Bavuma, David Miller, Willem Mulder.

Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Shafiul Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidi Hasan.

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