South Africa will be wary of India’s backlash when the two teams meet in the second ODI in Indore on Wednesday.
India have played only three one-day games at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, where they have yet to lose a 50-over match. South Africa were perhaps lucky to win the first ODI in Kanpur, but as they always say, you make your own luck in sport.
India are still winless and will be desperate to get some confidence and momentum on a tour that stretches 72 days. It will be interesting to see how their fans react should they lose the next game. The Proteas are exactly where they want to be – with the pressure firmly on India to get a result.
AB de Villiers called for consistency in the 50-over format in the buildup to the series and while this will obviously not always translate into winnings results, they should at least aim for consistency in performance.
South Africa are bound to lose games on this tour, but they will want to get a firmer grip on this series before that happens.
India need Virat Kohli
He is India’s version of AB de Villiers in terms of talent and stature, but Kohli is under pressure to contribute with the bat because he is arguably India’s most important batsman. He hasn’t scored a fifty or more in his last 11 ODI innings, his last meaningful contribution coming against Pakistan at the World Cup when he scored 107. It is hard to see India winning this series without Kohli scoring some valuable runs. South Africa should focus on getting him and in-form opener Rohit Sharma out early, which will put the rest of the batting order under severe pressure. There is a vulnerability here. South Africa should exploit it.
We need to talk about David
As with Kohli, David Miller last scored 50 or more at the World Cup, which was 12 ODI innings ago. His three highest scores since then has been scored against Ireland, the UAE and New Zealand, the latter two innings ending on 49 each time. Miller is a key batter for South Africa at N0 5, and if he’s not going to put bowlers under pressure with his big hitting, he should at least try and bat out the innings when the Proteas have a good start and he doesn’t have to come in too early.
Bowlers will be the difference
This series will likely be won by the team whose bowling attack performs the best. South Africa must show they can bowl India out in conditions that don’t favour them, while India were dealt a big blow when R Ashwin was ruled out with a side strain after the first game. While India have experienced spinners, like Harbhajan Singh, who can fill that void, they will still miss Ashwin hugely. For South Africa, Dale Steyn will have to show that he can still be an effective ODI bowler. He is likely to improve with every game, if he plays all of them, and should be up to speed by the time the Test series comes around. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt if he could also chip in with some wickets rather than keep a promising bowler like Kyle Abbott out of the starting XI.
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