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Five reasons why South Africa were hammered in ODIs by India

After winning the Test series 2-1, South Africa were crushed by Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team in ODIs. Here’s a look at the five reasons why South Africa lost the six-match series 5-1.

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2018 22:30 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Virat Kohli
While Virat Kohli scored 558 runs, Yuzvendra Chahal took 16 wickets in India’s 5-1 series win over South Africa. (BCCI )

South Africa’s 17-match winning streak in home ODIs came to a halt in Durban when Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team sailed past 269 with six wickets in hand, in the first game. From then on, South Africa went spiralling down and despite a much-needed win in the fourth ODI which delayed the inevitable, the hosts couldn’t do much against India. (SOUTH AFRICA vs INDIA FULL COVERAGE)

Here’s a look at the five reasons why South Africa lost the home ODI series to India:

1. Virat Kohli’s imperious form

With a world record 558 runs — most in a bilateral series averaging 186 — coming off Kohli’s bat, there is very little that any bowling attack can do. The India captain scored three centuries and one fifty in six games, whereas South Africa had only one century to show in the entire series.

(Read | ‘Freak, Rockstar, Fighter, Winner, Believer’ – Virat Kohli hailed for SA showing)

Kohli’s on-field aggression and playing all his key players including himself right till the end showed his unrelenting mindset and desperation to win.

2. India’s top 3 - unstoppable

India replicated their successful formula from the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, with their top three firing on all cylinders. Apart from Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan (323 runs at 64.60 with two fifties and a century) and Rohit Sharma (170 runs, one century) having successful returns.

(Read | Indian cricket team demands chicken rezala, daal makhani on their plate in SA)

The India vice-captain managed to break his South Africa jinx with a century in the fifth ODI, whereas Dhawan showed why he is one of the best in ODIs.

Shikhar Dhawan scored 323 runs at 64.60 with a century and two half-centuries. ( AP  )

South Africa failed to break this Indian wall throughout the series. Barring in the first ODI (wherein India had a 34-run second-wicket stand), India had strong second-wicket partnerships in the remainder of the series: 93* between Kohli and Dhawan at Centurion, 140 between Kohli and Dhawan at Cape Town, 158 between Kohli and Dhawan at Johannesburg, 105 between Rohit and Kohli at Port Elizabeth and 61 between Kohli and Dhawan at Centurion.

3. Kuldeep-Chahal wreak havoc

Kohli’s persistence with wrist spinners despite South Africa showing attacking instinct at times paid rich dividends. With 33 wickets between them, Kuldeep Yadav (17) and Yuzvendra Chahal (16) not only broke South Africa’s back but also derailed their confidence in the build-up to next year’s World Cup.

(Read | Sachin Tendulkar lavishes praise on Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal)

On wickets where fast bowlers made merry in the Tests, Kuldeep and Chahal looked unplayable, barring in the fourth ODI when an attacking approach handed South Africa a victory. Kuldeep and Chahal showed plenty of variations, showed perseverance to bowl attacking lines and were measly against the hosts’ batsmen, who now have serious questions to answer.

4. South Africa’s spin failure

The hosts tried emulating India’s formula by playing both their leg spinners, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi together but had no success. Tahir got a longer run in the series — four matches — compared to Shamsi’s two but all he could manage was one wicket. Much to South Africa’s, Shamsi went wicketless.

(Read | Ravi Shastri tells media to ‘buy a dictionary’ to describe Virat Kohli’s cricket)

The series proved to be particularly severe for Tahir, the world No 1 ODI bowler. His bowling average was a poor 175, while economy was close to six an over. Tahir, for that matter, has not had much success against India, having taken a mere 10 wickets in 12 matches at 51.79 and an economy of 5.53.

5. Absence of key players

What made matters even worse for South Africa first-up was the absence of AB de Villiers from first three ODIs, due to a finger injury. Upon his return, the former South Africa captain had shown form during the Test series but was patchy in ODIs. Faf du Plessis was ruled out after a century in the first game, and South Africa missed the spunk of their aggressive opener Quinton de Kock, who had a dream run in the last ODI series at home against India in 2013-14.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 18:07 IST