There should be plenty of exciting cricket over the course of the coming ODI series between South Africa and India, with both no doubt desperate to stamp their authority on the clash from the outset. But who will come out on top? Read on for our full South Africa vs India First ODI Preview and Prediction.
South Africa vs India First ODI Preview and Prediction
Neither of these sides, like the majority of their counterparts have played a great deal of 50-over cricket lately. But the next World Cup, all of a sudden, doesn’t look so far away and both South Africa and India will be keen to start firming up their best XI ahead of that tournament, as well as what sort of cricket they want to play there. The pressure on India to perform will be particularly high as the tournament is to be contested on home turf.
India have, however, generally looked impressive in this format when they have played. The have won their last two series, beating world champions England 2-1 on home turf in an enthralling series before getting the better of Sri Lanka away from home with a depleted squad. But there is still a feeling that India play a slightly old-fashioned style of ODI cricket and they will doubtless want to demonstrate that they are just as effective as anyone against the Proteas.
As for South Africa, they have rather more need of the ODI Super League points than their opponents as they find themselves outside of the automatic qualification spots after disappointing results at home to the Netherlands (in a series that never really got underway) and away to Sri Lanka where they lost 1-2 despite some promising performances. With a more ore less full strength team at their disposal here, the pressure is on for them to perform.
The big news for the Proteas is that Quentin de Kock will be back in action at the top of the order, having retired from Test cricket after one match of the series against India. Janneman Malan will be his most likely partner at the top of the order, with captain Temba Bavuma coming in at three and Aiden Markram, a man in need of some runs, in at four. That leaves Rassie van der Dussen the spot at five and the hard-hitting David Miller a potential finisher role in at six.
Dwaine Pretorius or George Linde will be the choice for the bowling all-rounder spot, with Linde’s spin perhaps giving him the edge as a point of difference in the attack. Andile Phehlukwayo can provide useful runs from eight as well as miserly bowling, whilst Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi will be relied on by Bavuma as his strike bowlers. The only notable absentee from the bowling ranks is Anrich Nortje who remains unavailable due to a hip injury.
For India, KL Rahul has confirmed that he will open the batting in the absence of ODI captain Rohit Sharma. Shikhar Dhawan will play alongside him at the top of the order, with Virat Kohli, playing in his first match since losing the captaincy, will come in at his usual spot of three. Suryakumar Yadav seems the likeliest option at four with the dangerous Rishabh Pant getting the gloves and batting at five. Venkatesh Iyer, who impressed with KKR in the IPL, is in line for a debut in this format at six.
Deepak Chahar will come in at seven with India no doubt hoping he can maintain his impressive form with bat and ball in this form of the game. Shardul Thakur surely played well enough in the Test series to keep his spot here, but India may opt for the swing-bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar instead. R. Ashwin will provide a frontline spinning option alongside Yuzvendra Chahal with the pace attack rounded out by Jasprit Bumrah.
If this ODI series is anything like as close as the Test series then it should be a great watch. It may well be with relatively little between the two sides on paper. India do probably just about have the edge man-for-man, but South Africa look like a side who are improving fast. They are also playing in home conditions in Paarl, which is in the midst of a heatwave, and the ability to cope with those conditions better than their visitors could just give him the edge.
Prediction: South Africa win.
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