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6th ODI Preview: Equal worst ever series defeat on the way for South Africa?



Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

It was supposed to be a competitive series between world no.1 and no.2. In a long series, the hope was that it would be tight, and that we’d have a magnificent finale. At the start of the series, South Africa, the World No.1 ODI side, would have wanted to continue their winning ways after the Tests against the challengers, World No.2 India.

What’s transpired has been the sort of thing you’d see between a no.1 and no. 9 team. Incredibly, it hasn’t even been the seamers that have been India’s star performers in South African conditions. The Proteas will be very happy to play Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for the final time in this ODI series, but with wrist spin a trend now in limited overs cricket, they must find ways to play this bowling a lot better ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

This debacle of a series may actually be a blessing for South Africa, if they understand the learnings they need to take from it and take action to ensure they are better for the experience.

For India, they have the chance to consign South Africa to their equal worst series loss in a home bilateral ODI series comprising of 5+ games. Rohit Sharma, as predicted, hit form nicely with a century in Port Elizabeth, and forms part of an excellent top three with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli showing great form. However, India’s middle order is not quite firing at the moment, and

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represents a concern for them in their preparations for the 2019 World Cup.

Key to a South Africa win

Expose India’s middle order early.
South Africa’s best chance of winning is chasing, restricting India to a score below 250. To do this, they need to make inroads into India’s top three and expose the middle order which looks a little uncertain at the moment. If they can do this, they can sit against India’s wrist spinners, and look to take more risks against the other bowlers.

Key to an India win

Top order runs again will be the order of the day.
The beauty of this dead rubber for India is that they can test some new combinations in the middle order, to ensure they take full advantage of the build up work from Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. A score in excess of 300 will be way too much for South Africa’s batsmen, who are struggling badly against the wrist spinners in particular.

Two supermen: Kohli needs 36 runs to beat Kevin Pietersen’s record in SA

Predicted teams:

For South Africa, I expect to see Kagiso Rabada get a rest, as this is a game that doesn’t matter to the series. With a T20I series v India and huge Test series v Australia coming up, a rest is very important for Rabada. Chris Morris is also in doubt with a stiff back. In terms of their batting, the likes of Amla and Markram have got starts, but just haven’t gone big. To avoid a 5-1 series loss, a top order batsman needs to go big.
South Africa XI: 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Aiden Markram (c), 3. JP Duminy, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. David Miller, 6. Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7. Chris Morris, 8. Andile Phehlukwayo, 9. Lungi Ngidi, 10. Morne Morkel, 11. Tabraiz Shamsi
For India, I expect to see some experimentation. It would make sense to rest Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, and potentially bring in two of Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur. It will be interesting to see if India go with the same middle order, including Shreyas Iyer, to give them another chance to launch.
India XI: 1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Virat Kohli (c), 4. Ajinkya Rahane, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Shreyas Iyer, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Axar Patel/Shardul Thakur, 9. Kuldeep Yadav, 10. Mohammed Shami, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

Stats & Facts:

  • South Africa’s heaviest defeat in a home series (5+ matches) is 5-1 v Australia in 2001/02.
  • Virat Kohli needs just 36 runs to pass Kevin Pietersen’s tally of 454 runs in a bilateral ODI series in South Africa, which is the highest tally by any visiting batsman.
  • In the whole tour, South Africa have registered just one century. India have registered five, including Virat Kohli’s three.
  • Ajinkya Rahane needs 72 to reach 3,000 ODI runs, and MS Dhoni needs 33 to reach 10,000 ODI runs.
  • Yuzvendra Chahal (14) and Kuldeep Yadav (16) have taken a combined 30 wickets. The next highest wicket taker is Jasprit Bumrah with six!


South Africa have had it tough in this series, and their biggest hope here is that they can play with nothing to lose.
However, India are just too strong in all facets of the game at the moment, and I expect to see them take out the series 5-1. Virat Kohli will have a great outing, and go past Kevin Pietersen’s tally of 454 runs, the highest by any visiting batsman in a bilateral ODI series in South Africa.
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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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