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HomeCricket1st ODI Preview: Top two teams do battle

1st ODI Preview: Top two teams do battle



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

The roles have now reversed. After South Africa were successful over no.1 Test side India in the recently concluded Test series, India (no. 2) will look to do the same and beat South Africa (no.1) in the six match ODI series starting in Durban.

Despite the fact that I would have liked to see at least an extra Test, the ODI series promises to be interesting, with South Africa looking to keep their no.1 ranking against a team that has won their last eight ODI series in a row. South Africa have suffered a blow with AB De Villiers missing for the first three ODIs, so it remains to be seen how the side goes without him. However, South Africa still possess a line up full of firepower, and will be hoping that the change in format will help the likes of Quinton De Kock find form.

For India, they certainly have the quality to win away from home in limited overs cricket. Their last ODI assignment outside of Asia (excl. WI) was a 4-1 loss against Australia two years ago, but like in the Tests, their bowlers have certainly shown they have improved over the last couple of years. Like South Africa, India will be hoping some key players find form after the Test series, notably Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who were both dropped during the Test series.

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Key to a South Africa win

How South Africa go without AB De Villiers will be key. 
Quinton De Kock is out of form, and a change in format might free him up a little. De Kock is crucial as he can set the tone for the innings. JP Duminy is coming off a good run of scores in the domestic one-day tournament, and David Miller’s last innings for South Africa was his record breaking century off 35 balls in a T20I in October. Add Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis and Aiden Markram, who all showed glimpses of form in the Test series, and South Africa have a strong top six on paper that need to deliver in AB’s absence.
Runs on the board is important against India’s strong ODI batting line up.

Key to an India win

For India, while the performance of their batting unit is important, their bowlers will be under the spotlight.
Can they take advantage of AB’s absence and continue to build on their good showings at home? Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have led the attack really well, and have been supported well by the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, who will have to bowl well to compete with Imran Tahir.
If India bowl really well, it will go a long way to helping them achieve victory.
Predicted teams:

Aiden Markram will take AB De Villiers’ number 4 position. I expect Imran Tahir to be the only spin option, with Morkel, Rabada, Morris and Phuhlekwayo the seam options.
South Africa XI: 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Quinton De Kock (wk), 3. Faf Du Plessis (c), 4. Aiden Markram, 5. JP Duminy, 6. David Miller, 7. Chris Morris, 8. Andile Phuhlekwayo, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Morne Morkel, 11. Imran Tahir
For India, their batting line up in ODIs looks fantastic. Rohit Sharma blew Sri Lanka away recently with a double hundred in the 2nd ODI and also the equal fastest T20I hundred (35 balls). After I said during the Sri Lanka series that Ajinkya Rahane should be at no.4, I expect to see him here, which makes for an excellent top order which includes the magnificent Virat Kohli.
India XI: 1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Virat Kohli (c), 4. Ajinkya Rahane, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Kedar Yadhav, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9. Jasprit Bumrah, 10. Yuzvendra Chahal, 11. Mohammed Shami

Stats & Facts:

  • In Tests, India are the no. 1 team and South Africa no. 2. In ODIs, it’s the other way around with South Africa no. 1 and India no. 2
  • The last two meetings between these two teams in an ODI series saw South Africa beat India 3-2 in India in 2015.
  • India have won their last eight bilateral ODI series in a row, but have only won five out of 28 bilateral ODIs in South Africa.
  • MS Dhoni needs 102 runs to become the 4th Indian to 10,000 ODI runs.


India showed in the Test series that they are an improved line up away from home. In addition, this is a format where they are more equipped to win away from home, thanks to flatter pitches.
I back them to win here in the absence of AB De Villiers, with Virat Kohli Man of the Match.
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Coorey
Charbel is the owner & founder of, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at

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