Monday, 26 October 2015

SA are unstoppable

I previously blogged how India would beat the Proteas in the T20 series, and the One Day International (ODI) series could go either way between the sides. I never expected SA to win both series convincingly (2–0, and 3–2 respectively). Who would have thought? India, the giants of limited overs cricket, and South Africa – while incredibly strong, are too often inconsistent. It was an awesome surprise. The ODI series win was our first in India.

Faf du Plessis is on fire. Photo from NT44NZblog photo from

With the phenomenal form South Africa is in, it must be hard being an Indian player with the prospect of a four-match Test series on the horizon, especially after losing two series at home, and as South Africa is ranked first in the world in Tests. Yes, JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and Rilee Rossouw were recently injured, but South Africa pulled together as a team and performed remarkably in all aspects of the game. Fielding was good, bowling was excellent, and batting was... Batting was out of this world.

Quinton de Kock clearly likes batting in India. He scored two centuries in the series, and out of his eight ODI centuries, five were against India. Faf du Plessis showed incredible consistency in his batting, and AB is on another level in limited overs cricket. Perhaps Chris Gayle is as destructive, but even he does not obliterate bowling attacks as often as AB does.

Dale Steyn is still striking, and now Kagiso Rabada is chipping in big time. In fact, Rabada has shown confidence and big-match temperament beyond his years. Steyn and Rabada each took 10 wickets in the ODI series. So much for spin dominating in India.

On the whole, South Africa are looking as good as I have ever seen them in limited overs. Who can stop us now? Let me know what you think.

Monday, 12 October 2015

It's not looking good for India

After a one-sided T20 series marred by unruly fans, and a scorcher of a first One Day International, India have it all to do in the remainder of the lengthly South Africa tour of India. The 72-day tour saw the Proteas win the three-match T20 series 2–0, which included a play disruption in the second match because fans felt unhappy about India's poor performance and threw water bottles onto the field. The third T20 was rained out. South Africa clinched the first of five ODIs by five runs on 11 October. It was a nail-biting affair, with South Africa posting 303 and the match going to the final ball. A four-match Test series is still to come.

India captain MS Dhoni will feel the expectations of a nation on his shoulders, as India struggle
against South Africa. Photo from

Three wins on the trot for South Africa places the momentum with them, and leaves us in no doubt as to what the state of morale is in the two camps. I certainly did not expect South Africa to win the T20 series, and especially not 2–0. Furthermore, India were batting very well in the ODI, with Rohit Sharma slamming 150 runs. It looked like we were going to lose. But credit to our bowlers. Staring down the face of the barrel, we did not change our tactics. We stuck to our game plan, even to the final over, and it paid off. Two wickets in an over for both Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada (in the final over) showed that we have big-match-temperament.

I have to say, it was beautiful watching Rabada bowl so well against high-profile batsmen. For a 20-year-old bowling the final over against MS Dhoni, when India only needed 11 runs to win, must have been nerve-wracking. But Rabada held his line and length and did not step over the line. Instead, he snatched the wickets of Dhoni and Stuart binny, and only gave away five runs. Incredible. AB de Villiers was awarded the man of the match for his 104 runs off 73 balls. I feel Sharma deserved the award though.

The phenomenal innings by Sharma aside, India are not in good form, neither with bat nor ball. India's star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's injury will strike a blow in the hearts of Team India, and with the Indian fans openly expressing their dissatisfaction in the team's performances, it probably does not feel good being an Indian cricketer at the moment.

The second ODI will be played on 14 October.