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|Faf du Plessis||120||112||11||2||107.14|
|Quinton de Kock||34||49||4||0||69.39|
One of the most exciting test series in recent times was played out between South Africa and India in recent times. It showed that while the conditions may have favored South Africa considerably, this Indian team has the resources to compete on an even footing. We are now moving on to the ODI format, one where South Africa is currently the number one ranked team and India the second. Everything points to another tightly contested series between the two teams.
The home team has been dealt a big blow even before the start of the ODI series. AB de Villiers, their best batsman by far, is going to miss the first three matches because of an injury that he picked up during the test series.
Khaya Zondo has been included in the squad as his replacement.
The absence of de Villiers is a big blow but it is not something that the South Africans are not used to considering the time off he took from cricket last year. They also have a lot of batting depth and are a formidable unit even in his absence.
Quinton de Kock, someone who has had a miserable test series, often roars back to life in the ODI format. He also loves playing against India and has hit 5 hundreds in 10 matches against them. He is likely to open the batting with Amla followed by du Plessis, Markram, Duminy, Miller, and Morris.
This is an extremely strong batting lineup and one capable of setting 300 plus scores or chasing them down in most matches.
The South African bowling is also very formidable thanks to the presence of Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, and Morne Morkel in the squad. We think that Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, and Khaya Zondo will be the players to miss out in the first couple of matches.
There is no real weakness as such in this South African lineup and they seem to have all the bases covered. The only thing that they will want to be careful off is the spin challenge India is likely to throw at them.
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Aiden Markram, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
A full strength India ODI team will be playing in conditions that they have not faced for a long time. In fact, seaming conditions in Kolkata and Dharamsala were also found to be difficult for the Indian batsmen to adjust to.
India’s record against South Africa in South Africa is not the best. They were beaten easily the last time they were here and failed to win a single match. India also has some selection issues to sort out before the first match.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will take their place at the top of the order followed by Virat Kohli. The position at number 4, though, is open for debate. Shreyas Iyer has played a few good innings these, as has Dinesh Karthik but neither has locked down the position. There is also Ajinkya Rahane who is wonderful in these conditions. We would love to Rahane in the playing eleven but that is not certain at the moment.
Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav will be locked in a battle for the number 5 position while MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya should be at 6, and 7 followed by the four bowlers. Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar, Shami, and Chahal are the four bowlers that we think will make the team for the first match.
The Indian ODI team may be at second place in the rankings but they are very much a team in progress. Their batting is vulnerable in seaming conditions and it is their bowling that will be the biggest threat to South Africa.
We will be very interested to see the approach that Rohit Sharma takes after his disastrous test tour because he and Virat Kohli are the heart of this batting lineup. India will also need Hardik Pandya to do the big hitters role down the order because that is something that MS Dhoni has struggled with of late.
The Indian bowling will have its hands full against a powerful South African batting lineup but they have shown themselves to be more than up to the task on this tour so far.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal.
The conditions at Durban are forecast to be gray and cloudy throughout the day. Rain is expected earlier in the day and we could see a delayed start. The weather in South Africa can be quick to change though so there is always hope for an uninterrupted match. The pitch at Durban will be excellent for batting. South Africa score over 300 in their last match against Sri Lanka here and chased down 371 against Australia in the one before that.
Another high scoring game should be in store, conditions permitting of course.
India has won three out of the last five matches against South Africa, If you look only in South African conditions, though, then South Africa has a much stronger record. They beat India 2-0 last time, 3-2 the tour before that, and 4-0 on the one before that.
India will have to play out of their skins to win this series but they should be able to compete quite well. We are backing the underdogs in the first match and betting on India pulling off an upset.