Continuing the trend from the previous two matches in which the team chasing looking good for most over eventually lost the match, India fail to overcome a target of 271 in the third ODI after looking like the favorites at the 30-over mark. The Indian batsmen failed to deliver as a unit against an inspired bowling performance by South Africa, eventually loosing the match by 18 runs. The third ODI was played in Rajkot, Gujarat.
At the end of 31 overs, India was doing well at 154 for 2 with the required rate well under control. That was when South Africa tightened the noose and India lost the plot. While, the spinner Tahir kept it slow in the air, the fast bowlers continued bowling short of a good length - a tactic that worked perfectly in the first ODI as well. As a result very few runs were allowed to be scored as the South Africans bowlers, noticeably Tahir, Khagiso Rabada and Morkel dried up the flow of runs. Only 2 boundaries came between 31 and 45 overs and the required run-rate went over 9 runs per over. In the 42nd over, Dhoni finally perished to a short ball from Morkel. Eight over post that, Indian teylander batsman returned back to pavilion, remaining not out but with an 18 run defeat. South Africa has taken a 2-1 lead in the 5-match ODI series.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Indian skipper MS Dhoni said that his side, "We are looking for batsmen to play at No 5, 6 and 7. Till they play there, we won't know who is a good bet over there. And we are looking to give chances as well so it's a tricky one", as his side is still struggling to find the right combination.
The cricket fraternity took to twitter to make known their thoughts on the match; needless to say all Indian fans were disappointed. One of the funny online post said, “Match is slipping away from India's hands, time for BCCI to let loose Hardik Patel and his gang in the stadium”. Importantly, protesters like Hardik Patel had announced disrupting the match. Going forward, in every new match, India seriously needs to stop chopping and changing its batting order.