India were clearly outmaneuvered in first few days of the series against South Africa. They were comprehensively routed in the T2o series and then lost a humdinger in the 1st ODI at Kanpur. The hosts have, however, managed to claw back towards parity in the ODI series, which is now tied 2-2 ahead of the final ODI at Mumbai. With Indian batsmen finding their mojo back and South Africa discovering the struggle of winning consistently in India, India v South Africa 5th ODI presents prospects of a thrilling climax to a hard fought series.
India bouyed by Kohli and Raina’s comeback in 4th ODI
Virat Kohli looked to have found his rhythm back in the 4th ODI at Chennai. Suresh Raina finally got a half century, and a prolonged slump in form since the World Cup 2015. India’s problems in the ODI series had mostly been occurring due to the inability of either of these two batsmen to contribute to the scorecard. Now with both of them looking fit and fine, India would be expecting the odds to favour them on Sunday.
The fact that Indian bowlers have successfully defended competitive targets twice in this series so far speaks volumes about their confidence levels. Harbhajan Singh has been reborn as a strategic wicket taking option in ODIs, and has filled in the void left by the injured Ashwin. Amit Mishra has brilliantly confounded the South Africans on the tricky home pitches, and picked wickets regularly. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s clever bowling in the death overs was instrumental in both the victories that India has enjoyed in this series. With a potent bowling arsenal and a re-energized batting unit at disposal, India stand well poised to mount a good fight at Mumbai.
South Africa over-relying on AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel factor crucial
The 4 ODIs played so far have emphatically proven this point. AB de Villiers has been playing like a one-man army for his team, while the others have struggled get going consistently. Quinton de Kock’s aggression at the top gets neutralized due to the weakness in the middle order. Amla and Miller have been out of sorts for quite some, and JP Duminy’s absence has compounded the problem for the Proteas.
Morne Morkel’s absence from the team in the 4th ODI had dealt a telling blow to South Africa’s chances. His replacement Aaron Phangiso was no match for the impact he had created in this tour. The team management might want to go ahead with the pace of Kyle Abbott in the 5th ODI, in case Morkel is not available in time. Imran Tahir has only been intermittently successful so far and Indians have negotiated him quite well. With South Africa’s initial run of good form running dry now, they shall surely be feeling the nerves ahead of the Mumbai encounter.
India v South Africa 5th ODI
Venue – Mumbai
Start time – 13.30 (IST)