South Africa vs India: Fifth ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Can the Proteas keep this segment of the series alive when they meet India in the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday?

The Proteas’ imperious record in Pink remained intact as they overcame India in a rain-affected match at the Wanderers to keep the series alive.

The teams head back to sea on Tuesday as St George’s Park prepares for its first dose of international cricket this calendar year. Can young Aiden Markram and his side force the match to a decider at Centurion or will the Indians wrap things up in spin-friendly conditions?

South Africa vs India | Tuesday 13 February | St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth | 13:30

To Win Match
South Africa 1/1
Tie 35/1
India 82/100

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South Africa 
The Proteas must now build on whatever momentum they gained from their comfortable five-wicket win at the Wanderers on Saturday. If they are to succeed, however, they need to find a way to get Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan out early on.

The two have tormented the South African bowlers in the ODI segment of the series and need to effectively dealt with before they are able to put the hosts' bowling to the sword once again. What Saturday’s match did reveal, however, is that the Indians do have a soft underbelly – their middle and lower order.

As much was evidenced by the fact that the South Africans only conceded 92 runs from the final 96 balls. Only the evergreen MS Dhoni had any kind of answer to the South African attack outside of Dhawan and Kohli – and even he couldn’t even score at a run a ball.

In terms of the batting, more is required from the opening pair. There have been false starts from both Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla so far in this series, with the pair needing to come good now. The middle order finally pulled finger in the last game with Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller belting the Indian attack to all parts of the Wanderers to set-up the win with Andile Pheulukwayo wrapping things up with a five-ball 23.

Perhaps attacking the two wrist-spinners is the way to go instead of trying to survive two fifths of the allotted overs. While it most certainly is a risky tactic to employ, it's better than watching the top and middle order fidget around 20 overs, ultimately achieving nothing. Doing so again on Tuesday will surely surrender the series.

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India
The Indians would have been pretty disappointed not have come away with victory at the Wanderers. Indeed there were times in the match when Dhawan was out in the middle with Kohli that a 350+ score seemed inevitable.

Fortunately for the hosts, the rain intervened and brought the Indian momentum to a grinding halt. What will be of more concern for the visitors, however, is the form of vice-captain Rohit Sharma. The big right-hander has endured a terrible series in both the Tests and the ODIs and may well be overlooked for St. George’s Park.

History isn’t on the victors’ side either, with the Indians never having posted more than 200 at the ground. Incidentally, St. George's Park also played host to one of the worst ODI defeats in the nation’s history, as a team containing the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were soundly beaten by Kenya in a Tri-Angular tournament.

Another point to keep in mind is that Kedar Jadhav may not be fit to take the pitch on Tuesday. The all-rounder pulled up with a hamstring issue in Cape Town and didn’t feature in Johannesburg. His ability with the ball will be missed more than anything, especially if the South Africans successfully take the attack to the wrist-spinners again.

Verdict: India 82/100
The South Africans needed a lot of luck in order to win the fourth ODI. David Miller’s reprieve, the rain interrupting the Indian innings and a dropped catch all hamstrung the Indians. Back the visitors to go 4-1 up in PE and claim a historic ODI series win in South Africa.  

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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