Bangladesh have been taking rapid strides in world cricket, especially after defeating India and Pakistan of late and their graph might further witness an upward curve if they defeat South Africa in the third ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday.
The third ODI will also act as the series decider as Bangladesh lost the first ODI in an embarrassing manner, but came back strongly to comfortably win the second ODI and level the series at one game apiece.
Bangladesh showed a lot of determination in the game, especially the way they started the second ODI taking wickets at regular intervals. They did not give any opportunity to the Proteas' batsmen to settle down.
The second ODI victory was a well-documented win as they made appropriate plans before the game.
"I had some concern about our batting but we discussed a lot, which was more important than training. We talked about how we will start our innings, finish it and make it longer. It was good that Soumya finished the game. Riyad [Mahmudullah] was playing only his second game after returning from a finger injury which is never easy for any batsman," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza as saying.
Despite the series being levelled at 1-1, it is the batting from both sides, which has been a major disappointment.
Both the teams need to work on their batting for the third ODI and excite cricket fans at Chittagong with some high-scoring contest . Under sub-continental conditions, runs are expected to flow from the willow of the batsmen, but Bangladesh and South Africa have scored 160 odd runs each in the first two ODI series each after batting first that does not do justice to the strong batting line they possess.
South Africa, led by Hashim Amla along with other batsmen such as Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, has a formidable batting line-up, but the Proteas are surely missing the services of their prolific batsman, AB de Villiers during the ODI series, who was originally part of the ODI squad.
De Villiers was unavailable for the first ODI and the team management decided to release him from the squad and allow him to spend some family time.
But, Bangladesh does not have any such problems as they have all their best batsmen in the squad and they seem to be a strong team with Mahmudullah back into the team. Tamim Iqbal needs to get back to form following his failure in the first two ODIs. If the opening pair of Iqbal and Sarkar get going for Bangladesh at the top of the order, South Africa will find it hard to contain the run-flow from this pair with their aggressive approach.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Litton Das, Arafat Sunny, Mustafizur Rahman, Jubair Hossain, Rubel Hossain.
South Africa: Hashim Amla (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Eddie Leie, Ryan McLaren.
Where to Watch Live
Bangladesh vs South Africa third ODI at Chittagong is scheduled for 3pm local time (2:30pm IST, 5am ET, 10am BST) with live TV coverage in India on Star Sports 1/HD and Star Sports 3/HD with live streaming on starsports.com.
Gazi TV will broadcast the game live in Bangladesh.
South African viewers can watch the action live on Super Sport with the online option here.