South Africa vs India: First ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

South Africa and India kick off their six-match ODI series on Thursday 1 February at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. 

The Proteas head into a mammoth six-match ODI series hot on the heels of their 2-1 Test series win against the touring Indians in January.

The two teams will renew hostilities on Thursday in front of a sold out Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. This promises to be an absolute cracker, let’s take a look:

South Africa vs India | Thursday 1 February | Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, Durban | 13:30

To Win Match
South Africa 61/100
Tie 35/1
India 27/20


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South Africa
You wonder what the thinking was behind naming both Tabraiz Shamsi and Imran Tahir in the squad for the ODI segment of the series. Either or would have sufficed with two wrist-spinners seeming a touch excessive, especially in South African conditions.

Keshav Maharaj probably would have been the better option with Tahir perhaps remaining with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins. I just feel the control offered by Maharaj would have been invaluable, especially against an explosive Indian top order who will pounce on anything loose.

In terms of batting, there won’t be any real surprises following AB de Villiers’ injury. Aiden Markram gets into the side alongside Quinton de Kock in the opening berths with Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis set to come in at first and second drop respectively. David Miller will come in at five while – a position he’s made his own over the last few seasons.

Which brings us onto the next selection conundrum – who bats six? You wouldn’t bet against Khaya Zondo getting a game in this series. The Hollywoodbets Dolphins’ skipper has enjoyed a relatively good MODC campaign averaging a shade under 40 and could be looked considered at his home ground. Of course, JP Duminy is also in the squad so don’t discount him sneaking in especially if management want another spin option.

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India
Running through the Indian squad one thing becomes immediately apparent: the South African seamers are going to need to make early inroads or the tourists’ top order will absolutely pile on the runs.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane make up a fearsome top four and will attack from the outset. If the South African seamers are loose, they will be punished. This is especially true during the Power Play where the prestigious talent available to the Indians should find the boundary with regularity.

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to lead the attack following their exploits in the Test series with Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya set to provide support. Their spinners will also look to turn the screw with Axar Patel expected to play the holding role.

Patel’s ability to keep the South Africans quiet will be crucial. His economy rates at international level (ODI: 4.43 and T20: 4.55) speak volumes about his ability to strangle the opposition. He will of course need support from the rest of the attack – especially whichever other spinner is picked alongside him.

Verdict: South Africa 61/100
Conditions really shouldn’t hamper the Indians too much in the intermediate and short formats of the game. If anything, I think that conditions in Durban should suit the likes of Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. However, Kingsmead has become something of a fortress for the Proteas of late. They’ve convincingly won all five of their last ODIs at the venue with the trend tipped to continue on Wednesday. 

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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