South Africa vs India 2023: India’s strongest predicted playing XI against South Africa

Dec 16, 2023

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KL Rahul. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

India are all set to kick start their three-match ODI series against South Africa, with the first match being played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on December 17, Sunday. India and South Africa recently squared off in a T20I series, which ended on level terms after the first game was washed out.

KL Rahul will be leading the Indian team while Aiden Markram will continue to captain the Proteas. Both India and South Africa will be looking to secure a victory in the forthcoming ODI match.

Here’s India’s predicted XI against South Africa: 

Openers: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan

The KL Rahul-led side are likely to open their innings with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sai Sudharsan in the first ODI. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Ishan Kishan, India only have Gaikwad as a specialist opening batter. Notably, the youngster did not play in the T20I series against the Proteas depite showcasing brilliant performance in the previous T20I series against Australia.

Sai Sudharsan is the lone other opener alongside Gaikwad in the Indian team. The right-handed batter is likely to make his international debut if he opens in the first game against South Africa. He was the star of Gujarat Titans during the IPL 2023, having scored 362 runs in just eight games.

Middle Order: Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (C, wk), Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh

India’s middle order would be able to possess significant firepower in the upcoming series. Star batter Shreyas Iyer could be one of the most crucial players for the KL Rahul-led side. He enjoyed a memorable campaign in the 2023 ODI World Cup, having finished as India’s third-highest run-scorer with 530 runs in 11 games. The in-form batter is expected to expand his batting prowess in the first match. 

Tilak Varma has played only one ODI for India, the final group stage clash in the 2023 Asia Cup against Bangladesh. He did not make an impact during his debut game but is expected to play a crucial role in the forthcoming game.

KL Rahul will be looking to establish himself as a middle-order batter in the upcoming ODI series along with wicketkeeping duties. He has been batting in the middle order for some time apart from being an opening batter. Rahul batted at fifth position throughout the ODI World Cup, and accumulated over 400 runs from 11 games, including a ton.

India’s rising batting sensation Rinku Singh is likely to receive his ODI cap during the first ODI. He has scored a scintillating fifty in the second T20I in Gqeberha and is likely to bat at number six.

All-rounder: Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar could be the all-rounder in the Indian side for the upcoming first ODI match against South Africa. Overall in ODIs, he has picked up 16 wickets and scored 251 in 18 games.

Bowlers: Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh

Team India could field a substantial bowling lineup just like they did in the T20I series. Kuldeep Yadav is likely to pip Yuzvendra Chahal for the spinner’s spot after claiming a career-best five-wicket haul in India’s final T20I in Johannesburg.

Mukesh Kumar has played only three ODIs and picked up four wickets for India. In the recent T20I series, the 30-year-old claimed three wickets in two games. Meanwhile, Avesh Khan also did not get many chances to play in the 50-over format. He last played an ODI game, when India and South Africa locked horns in Delhi on October 2022.

Arshdeep Singh will complete India’s lineup for the first ODI against South Africa. Despite not having an impressive T20I series, the 24-year-old will look to devastate the Proteas’ batting lineup with his pace.  

India’s Predicted XI for 1st ODI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Shreyas Iyer, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul (C)(wk), Rinku Singh, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh

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