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|Quinton de Kock||20||36||2||0||55.56|
India has started the ODI series against South Africa with an absolutely dominant win and sets the stage for a wonderful contest between the two sides. This loss was the first after 17 wins at home for South Africa and they have more than a few questions to answer ahead of the second ODI.
The home team was already missing its best limited-overs batsman, AB de Villiers and now they have received news that Faf du Plessis will also miss all the remaining matches of the ODI and T20 series. Du Plessis is the captain of the South African team and scored a brilliant 120 in the first match to be the only batsman that kept the South Africans in the game.
In his absence, Aiden Markram, who is only two ODI’s old has been named the captain. It is a move that can be seen as forward thinking, bold, or perhaps foolhardy depending on which viewpoint you hold but either way, Aiden Markram will find that he is playing under a lot more pressure and scrutiny.
There were a few things that stood out in the South African approach in the first match.
The first and most glaring is their difficult facing quality spin. Both Yuzvendra Chahal and KuldeeYadavav are hard to pick but they can definitely be attacked. This is something that the South Africans just did not do and allowed the spinners to bowl without any pressure on them.
The other was the lack of fluency that their batsmen showed. Amla and de Kock were subdued at the start, while most others did not last too long. Only du Plessis and Chris Morris showed the ability to get boundaries when needed.
South Africa is playing against a terrific ODI team and must make sure that they are not content posting par totals because the Indians will chase them down on most days with ease.
The bowling for South Africa was pretty listless. Chris Morris and Kagiso rabada bowled with pace but lacked direction while Morne Morkel fizzled out after a few tight overs. The biggest disappointment would be the inability of Imran Tahir to pick wickets in the middle overs like the Indian spinners.
In fact, Imran Tahir is going to be key to South Africa’s success in this entire series. If he continues to get picked off by the Indians then the South Africans are going to find themselves struggling to contain the Indians. Phehlukwayo as the fifth bowler is quite innocuous and someone whom the Indians will target for sure.
A lot more urgency needs to be shown the South Africans. Lets see if their new skipper is able to inspire that.
Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Jean-Paul Duminy, Khaya Zondo, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
The Indians could not have asked for a better start to the ODI series and now with du Plessis missing from the South African side, will sense a real chance to go 2-0 up in the series. It would be prudent for the Indians not to get too excited, though, as they are facing a champion South African side in their home conditions.
It is also not like the Indians had a perfect match. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had an off-day, something that India has not been used to in the ODI format, and Hardik Pandya struggled to get his overs in with any sort of control.
Pandya offers a lot of balance to the team with his power batting but his bowling must improve if he is to be taken seriously as an all-rounder. On the kind of flat wickets that India is going to encounter in this series, Hardik Pandya will have to come up with some new strategies to combat the South African batsmen.
While the Indian pacers struggled in the match, enough praise cannot be heaped upon the two spinners. Both Chahal and Yadav bowled slowly through the air looking for wickets at all times and pulled back South Africa everytime they seemed to be getting some sort of partnership together.
If these two can bowl like this on a regular basis then it is fair to say that India will have a very impressive ODI attack on its hands, one that can compete in any kind of conditions.
The Indian batting was not really tested because of the small total set for them but there was no doubt that every single batsman looked in touch. Rohit Sharma played some clean shots before getting out, Shikhar Dhawan was stroking the ball carefully before being sold down the river by his captain.
Virat Kohli proved once again why he is the best ODI batsman in the world and Rahane finally showed that he can be the answer to India’s problems at the number 4 position. With Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, and Hardik Pandya still to follow, India has a formidable batting lineup that should get big runs on most days.
Maybe a few early wickets could put the pressure on the Indians or they may fall short while setting a target but it is difficult to find too many weaknesses in this team right now.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal, JJ Bumrah.
The pitch at the Centurion for the test match was called ‘subcontinental’ by the South Africans. After the criticism that the groundsman came in for that pitch, we expect a flat batting deck with considerably more bounce on offer for this match. The last three matches on this ground have aggregated almost 600 runs with ease and we expect another high-scoring match this time around.
There is some rain around and a forecast for rain during the second innings has been made although the chances of that happening have been pegged at 40%.
South Africa is an excellent side in any condition but the loss of two of their best batsmen is likely to hit them hard. We are backing India to win the second match of the series as well.
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