India took a 1-0 lead in the ongoing six-match ODI series against South Africa, chasing 270 and winning by 6 wickets. The victory followed an impressive display in the third Test, and India now have two successive victories away from home.
Besides the loss, South Africa have been dealt a further loss after du Plessis was ruled out for the ODI’s and T20s with a finger fracture he suffered during the match. Farhaan Behardien has been named as his replacement, and Devilliers is still out with injury. Can the Proteas pull one back with the resources they have available?
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo
Where the teams stand
India did a fantastic job to restrict South Africa to 269 in 50 overs. 120 of those were scored by du Plessis alone, who will not be a part of the remaining matches. The visitors took wickets regularly to cripple the batting, and ultimately received a manageable total which they chased down with five overs to spare. Kuldeep Yadav blew the wind out of the middle order with three wickets and Chahal took two as well, exposing a key weakness for the home side. They took 5 of the 7 wickets to fall to bowlers. The Chahal-Yadav pair have been very successful in recent series’, and that they have carried their form abroad as well is a positive sign for the Indians. As for the pacers, Bhuvi and Bumrah took a wicket each, but the latter was more economical with his spells. Kumar was excellent in the Tests, and he is still a lethal threat to the Proteas with both, bat and ball. Overall, the bowling attack is shaping up brilliantly, one which will not let the home side off easily.
Besides bowling well, the Indian batsmen supported the bowlers fantastically. Kohli and Rahane were especially brilliant, notching 191 runs on aggregate. Dhawan looked in good touch as well before he was run out in a mixup with Kohli. While the Indians showed what they can do with the bat, consistency remains a troubling issue. If they can sustain such performances, they will achieve things few Indian teams have managed in the past, but this is still a big question mark. Much depends on Kohli and Rahane, and Dhoni will inevitably have an important part to play lower down the order as well. These three will be the ones to watch out for in the second ODI.
The loss of du Plessis to injury leaves a huge burden on the shoulders on Hashim Amla. Likely to be named captain, he is also their best batsman by far. His task of getting the team off to a good start is of utmost importance given the uncertainty surrounding his middle order. As expected, Miller and Duminy failed to make their mark in the first ODI. Morris and Phehlukwayo contributed 64 of the 269 they ended with, 120 coming from du Plessis. South Africa’s dearth in batting options on the bench is proving to be a massive inconvenience.
South Africa’s bowlers were surprisingly ordinary in their effort to defend the score their batsmen could manage. Only 4 wickets fell, and one of them was a run out. Morris was expensive whereas Morkel and Rabada had economies of 5 each but failed to break through the Indian batting. Phehlukwayo was their most successful bowler, with two wickets to his name. Things are not looking good for South Africa, and their only chance of winning seems to be in the hope that the Indians suffer a miraculous collapse rather than South Africa putting in a world-class performance.
India win. While consistency is an issue, South Africa were absolutely hapless in the first ODI. They will have to do something special to defeat the Indians if the visitors keep performing like this. 1