21 January, 2011

Preview: India vs South Africa, 4th ODI

 India is on the verge of creating history, with a first-ever ODI series triumph on South African soil beckoning ahead of the Fourth ODI.

The Indians have never won limited-overs series in South Africa and
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men will leave no stone unturned to achieve the feat at St George's Park.

Even though India are leading the series 2-1, there are several things the visitors will want to improve on, with the main one being batting. The batting was ordinary in the first two matches, while it was just a little bit better in the third match. The bowling and fielding were responsible for both wins.

With seniors like
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir missing from the ranks, the youngsters, who have done well in the recent past, have not been able to cope with the conditions.

India's bowling attack, in contrast, has been impressive with the pace duo of Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel creating problems for the batsmen. Even spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh has come up with consistent performances with the ball, while with the bat, he scored valuable runs in the third ODI.

If India have been bad with the bat though, South Africa have been even worse. The first ODI saw them put up a good total, but since then, the batsmen have let the side down rather badly. In the absence of veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, South Africa lack the required balance in the side and even as captain Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and new comer Faf du Plessis have all chipped in with runs, they simply have not made up for the loss of Kallis so far in the tournament.

South Africa's chief problem while batting appears to be a rather long tail. Given that, the pressure on the top order to fire is even higher than normal and the lack of all-rounders in the side has upset the balance considerably.

The bowling has been fairly adequate, though the bowlers would do well to have more specific plans for someone like Yusuf Pathan - who can change the game in a matter of minutes.

The home side's fielding was far below its world-class standards in the third ODI, and the fact that the fielding fell apart was perhaps the sign of a side not being all mentally 'there' in the match.

If South Africa want to prevent a series-win for India, they will need to be a lot more switched on for this match. Having won two close matches - in both of which South Africa had their chances to win - the Indians will be feeling much better mentally than the South Africans. South Africa need to overcome that deficit as well as batting woes, while India need to continue to be mentally strong and not take undue pressure from the fact that this could be a first-ever series win in South Africa.

No comments:


Share |
Follow @Harendrasingh