Prior to the ODI Series, MS Dhoni said he looked forward to the 5-match series. He also said dew would influence the outcome or game plan and that he didn’t want grass on the wicket or his spinners wouldn’t be effective. Well, the dew factor hardly affected the game and either way, Dhoni’s spinners did the best they could as South Africa won the series 3-2.
The spin, the heat, the noise – South Africa handled it well. It’s a good thing India bounced back from the venom the fans spat them for losing the T20I Series. Had they wallowed in self-pity, they would have made it too easy for South Africa to claim the series.
SA - India - SA - India - DECIDER
The captain that won the toss always chose to bat first and that was a good idea because the team that batted first inevitably won the match. Then again, even though South Africa lost the toss in the second ODI, they could have won that match after restricting India to 247-9.
In a previous article, it was clearly stated that India play spin well, but they were afraid of a bit of pace. That was definitely the case. South Africa’s pace attack of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel took a total of 27 wickets among the three of them.
Dhoni banked a lot on his spinners. On many occasions, he either played spin upfront or played spin on both ends. The team bowling second, which was mainly India, got the ball to turn a bit. India would play two or three spinners, unlike South Africa who played one or two spinners and turned to part timers.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the incredible Ravichandran Ashwin who hurt himself in the first ODI. It would have been great to compare him with South Africa’s number one spinner, Imran Tahir, who took 7 wickets.
India was dreadful on the field with fielding and running between the wickets. A total of 10 run outs took place in the 5 ODIs, with India being victims of 6. Their running between the wickets was unacceptable: looking for singles where there were none and running like they were in their own backyards. One minute the running is good and improved, and the next minute, there’s a run out because of hesitation.
In the South African camp, AB de Villiers has a tendency of running out his partners (Hashim Amla (T20Is), Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris).
Both teams dropped a few catches and missed some run outs, especially in the decider, resulting in partnerships that shouldn’t have flourished and wickets that should have been taken (by India).
It was extremely hot. Players like Dhoni and de Kock chose to either wear caps or no protection at all when they were at the crease. They completely ignored the dangers of not wearing any protection. But in heat like that, what else could possibly go wrong?
The majority said that South Africa would be crippled by the heat and they were right. It troubled the South Africans the most, but when Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli stayed at the crease for their centuries and beyond, even they experienced cramping.
When they scored centuries, de Kock, de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, struggled with cramping. Du Plessis was the worst since it required him to retire hurt in the final ODI.
The Indian supporters know the definition of supporting. Nothing beats being in the stadium watching great cricket all-round. At every ground the crowds were superb, the atmosphere, incredible. When India batted and fielded well, they went wild. When AB de Villiers walked into the crease, during his innings and after his innings, the crowd would go wilder. They love him in India.
The final leg of the tour awaits, the 4-match Test Series.
Will South Africa claim this format too? Or will India take revenge on the Test Champions?