South Africa have been hit with a couple of injury blows ahead of their do-or-die clashes against Australia.
Anrich Nortje, who missed the third ODI of the series due to lower back spasms, has been ruled out of the series entirely. Additionally, Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma will miss the upcoming fourth ODI due to a right adductor strain.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) issued an update regarding the injuries, which read:
“Fast bowler Anrich Nortje (lower back injury) is ruled out of the remaining 2 matches of the #Betway ODI series against Australia. ODI captain Temba Bavuma (adductor strain) is unavailable for the 4th ODI. Aiden Markram will lead the side.”
In Bavuma’s absence, Aiden Markram has been tasked to lead the South African side. Australia currently have a 2-1 lead in the five-match series in Mitchell Marsh’s first venture as ODI captain, albeit on a temporary basis.
Nortje sustained the injury during South Africa’s heavy 123-run defeat against the Aussies in the second ODI. The right-arm pacer only bowled five overs, conceding 58 runs, before walking off the field.
He did return to feature with the bat during the run chase as the No.10 batter but was ruled out of contention for the third ODI. Nortje was sent to Johannesburg on Monday, September 11, for scans.
Bavuma, on the other hand, scored a fifty in South Africa’s 111-run win in the third ODI. The right-handed batter had also scored a brilliant hundred in the series opener as well.
Markram, who is the full-time T20I skipper of the South Africa side, has already led the team in the 50-over format in the past. He has led the team in six matches, winning two and losing four of them. Markram recently led the Proteas ODI outfit during the home series against West Indies in March 2023.
South Africa set to face Australia in the crucial 4th ODI on September 15
The Proteas will be looking to use the momentum and confidence from their win in the third ODI against Australia, which was their first win across the entire white-ball tour. They had lost the T20I series by a 3-0 margin and had proceeded to lose the first two ODIs as well.
In Nortje’s absence, the hosts had recalled Gerald Coetzee into the playing XI. As far as Bavuma’s impending absence in the fourth ODI, South Africa are likely to promote Reeza Hendricks to the top of the order, and potentially bring Rassie van der Dussen back into the playing XI.
Hendricks was among the runs in the T20I series and had scored 39 runs off 45 deliveries in the third ODI at No. 3. Van der Dussen, meanwhile, has been struggling for form but managed to make it into the ODI World Cup 2023 squad.
Will the Proteas win the fourth ODI to take the series into the final match? Let us know what you think.