Freedom Series – As It Stands

A gritty knock of 96 not out by South African skipper Dean Elgar got the hosts through the line in the second test match of the Freedom series 2021-22. What seemed to be an evenly contested match, for the most part, became South Africa’s game following a brilliant display of batting in the fourth innings.

With the series level at 1-1, the winner of the Freedom series will be determined in the final test match at Newlands, Cape Town. India will be eyeing the historic win, as it will be for the first time in the last 29 years. The hosts would like to maintain their record.

South Africa

South Africa has a reputation for being a dominant side while playing at home. However, they did not quite start as favorites before the series, as India had just come defeating Australia and England at home, and the South African team has been marred by controversies, on and off the field.

A formidable pace attack and the presence of bowlers like Rabada, Ngidi, and Olivier boosted the chances of the hosts. After an under-par performance in the first match of the series, the bowling line-up made a strong comeback led by veteran Rabada.

Captain Dean Elgar’s form has been a major positive for the home team as he has averaged more than 50 in the two matches, playing crucial, timely knocks. His match-winning 96 in the second test received praise from all corners of the cricketing world for his sheer skill and perseverance. 

Temba Bavuma is an important middle-order batter for South Africa. The right-hander chipped in with important runs in the first two matches, and the team would be looking for more of sorts from the experienced campaigner. Besides, youngster Keegan Peterson has been the talk of the town as he has nullified India’s bowling attack with a brave approach.

South Africa will be expecting their opener Aiden Markram to step up in the final test. The aggressive opener has been short of runs in the series. They will also be expecting a more consistent performance from the likes of Ngidi and Marco Jansen.

Elgar's unbeaten knock not only forced a decider in Cape Town next week, but it also helped South Africa register their first win against India at the Wanderers in six attempts
Source – Cricbuzz

India

KL Rahul was the difference between the two teams when team India defeated the South African team in the first test. He, along with his fellow opening partner has fared well, but the problem for the guests lies in the middle order.

India’s middle-order woes continue. Although Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane chipped in with an important hundred runs partnership in the second test, it was not enough to get the team in a winning position. Virat Kohli missed the second test due to a spasm will be back for the third test, wherein his role will be crucial. Virat – The Captain has been flawless in the last few months. However,  Virat – The batter will be needed the most by team India at this point.  

Rishabh Pant has been having a dry patch as far as runs are concerned since the WTC final in June last year. The wicket-keeper was criticized for the choice of his shot in the second innings of the last test match, wherein he couldn’t add anything to the scoreboard.

Siraj met with an injury in the second test. As a result of that, he might miss out on the finals. Virat is all set to make a comeback it will make an interesting case to see whom he would replace in the playing eleven. Pujara and Rahane played well in the second innings to get India to a respectable total. Hanuma Vihari, who filled in for the skipper, contributed some crucial runs in the team’s total.

Featured Image source – Cricbuzz

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