Your essential guide to the sixth ODI between the Proteas and India at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The Proteas have lost the series. Simply outplayed in all departments. This was confirmed by Ottis Gibson on Tuesday when he acknowledged that the Proteas received a ‘hiding’ from India, who made history by winning their first-ever bilateral series in South Africa. The No 1 spot has also been secured by India.
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Valuable lessons have been learned and the Proteas definitely need to work out a game plan to cope with spin. So far, 30 out of the 41 wickets (excluding run outs) have been taken by India’s two wrist spinners, Kuldeep Yadav (16) and Yuzvendra Chahal (14). South Africa have struggled to deal with their variations but improved throughout the series.
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The spotlight was always on the Proteas’ starting XI after CSA convenor of selectors Linda Zondi confirmed that a new squad would be picked after the first three ODIs before a ball had been bowled. This was puzzling because it meant the Proteas would not be playing their best XI in every game. The strategy was prematurely implemented after injuries to Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock and as a result, the Proteas were exposed and humiliated by a powerful India side.
Will we see more changes in the starting XI for the final match?
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There were, however, some positives in defeat. Heinrich Klaasen, in particular, has revealed his talent. The 26-year-old replaced the injured De Kock as wicketkeeper-batsman and thrived under pressure, playing with a positive, aggressive approach against India’s spinners. His top score of 43 off 27 balls helped the Proteas claim a pink-ODI victory and he scored 39 in the fifth ODI. It will be difficult to drop Klaasen, and the Proteas should look to keep both players in the starting lineup in the future.
Rain poured down on Thursday, interrupting the Proteas’ practice session. Groundsmen worked hard on the outfield while the covers remained unmoved, protecting the strip. Rain, thunder and lighting are expected throughout the day on Friday.
Players to Watch:
AB de Villiers failed to live up to expectations in the fourth and fifth ODIs. He was expected to fire and was tamed with scores of 26 and 6. He should aim to finish the series on a high. He has an average of 43.35 at SuperSport Park, which includes three fifties and a century.
Hashim Amla is the leading run scorer on the ground with 869 runs at an average of 72.41 in 13 games.
India’s middle-order struggles have been covered up by exquisite batting from their top three. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have all scored centuries in the series. But how will India fare if those three are dismissed early on? It is possible that Dinesh Karthik or Manish Pandey could be brought in to strengthen the middle order, who have only managed 250 runs between them, compared to the top three who scored 889.
Chris Morris has been declared fit for the match, so expect him to slot back into the side. Lungi Ngidi can’t be dropped after his four-for in PE. Our spinners are not lethal enough to cause problems for an India side who are accustomed to playing spin.
South Africa: 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Aiden Markram (capt), 3. JP Duminy 4. AB de Villiers, 5. David Miller, 6. Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7. Chris Morris, 8. Andile Phehlukwayo, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Morne Morkel, 11. Lungi Ngidi.
It is likely that Dinesh Karthik or Manish Pandey will slot in the middle order in place of Shreyas Iyer.
India: 1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Virat Kohli (capt.), 4. Ajinkya Rahane, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Dinesh Karthik/Manish Pandey , 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9. Kuldeep Yadav, 10. Jasprit Bumrah, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
– South Africa have only lost five home ODIs in a series once before – 5-1 to Australia in 2001-02.
– South Africa’s record is 24 wins and 12 defeats at SuperSport Park, with a ratio of 2:0. This is their third-worst win-to-loss ratio at any home ground. Their ratio at Kingsmead is 1.82 (20 wins, 11 defeats), while at St George’s Park it reads 1.67 (20 wins, 12 defeats).
– Kuldeep Yadav (16) needs three more wickets to become the highest wicket-taker in a bilateral series in ODI history.
– MS Dhoni needs 33 runs to reach the 10,000-run mark in ODI cricket. He will be the fourth India batsman to do so and 12th overall.
– AB de Villiers (1,327) needs 51 runs to go past Gary Kirsten as the third-highest run-scorer in ODIs between India and South Africa.
What they said:
Kohli after India’s fifth ODI win: ‘We want to win 5-1 for sure, that doesn’t change, but there’ll be a chance for others to step in as well. The first priority is to win and we’ll do anything to do that again.’
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix