India v South Africa 5th ODI preview: Series set for an absorbing decider

India v South Africa 5th ODI preview: Series set for an absorbing decider

India v South Africa 5th ODI preview: Series set for an absorbing decider: As the ODI series started India were still coming to terms with the horrendous 20 over performances and looking to dominate from the outset in the 50 over format. But is was never going to be that easy. South Africa are one of the few international teams who make it difficult for you to discern their home and away performances. And they have shown plenty of fight to win games, less sterner teams would have surrendered. The series has also been a tale of pretty uncharacteristic results. Not often do India loose a game with Virat and Dhoni on the crease and stroking their way without any fuss.

Similarly South Africa’s strong batting line up would be expected to haul 247 any day but for the Indore ODI. The previous game again re emphasized the toss factor or shall we say getting to bat first and putting up a total on board. All 4 games have been won by the team which has done that. Is that any surprise? Perhaps it is. India hasn’t been a place where chasing teams are out of the game once the opposition puts up a big score. As the teams head to Mumbai for the final clash the trend might well continue. Taking first guard is crucial in most crunch games and toss could be a vital factor.

India:

Harbhajan Singh Team India
(Photo Source: BCCI)

The Indians are coming on the back of a dominant performance that would have helped silence some of the criticism that has been aimed at them. They were clearly outmaneuvered in first few days of the series but have managed to claw their way back and with the Indian batsmen finding their mojo back and Proteas finding tough to be consistent, Wankhede presents prospects of a thrilling climax to a hard-fought series.

While Virat Kohli stole the show with his 138-run innings in Chennai, they would never have reached the total of 299 had it not been for Raina and Rahane’s innings. India’s problems in the ODI series have mostly been a consequence of key batsmen not being able to play big knocks. Now with both Raina and Kohli in good stead, the hosts 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. Axar Patel’s contribution has not gone unnoticed.

Bhuvneswar 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:

South Africa Team
(Photo Source: BCCI)

Was it the team selection that cost the Proteas the game or just poor batting performance? Difficult to argue and as they say most experts are wiser after the event. With JP Duminy sidelined due to a hand injury the visitors had very little choice than to play Aaron Phangiso, the left arm spinner. Phangiso’s selection was also dictated by the Chennai track, a typical subcontinental surface.

While Chris Morris is a decent enough lower order batsman he’s nowhere near Duminy’s standards. He will in all likelihood make way for Morne Morkel, the man of the match in Rajkot. His absence from the team in the 4th ODI had dealt a telling blow to South Africa’s chances. The Protea quick has been the pick of the bowlers in the ODI series thus far and will greatly enhance the tourists chances of claiming back-to-back series wins.

South Africa are also perhaps over relying on AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel. The 4 ODIs played so far have emphatically proved this point. AB has been playing like a one-man army for his team, while the others have struggled to 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 time, and Duminy’s absence has compounded the problem for the Proteas. Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn will enjoy the pitch in Mumbai.

The team management might want to go ahead with the pace of Kyle Abbott, 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.

Last 5 matches –

India – WLWLW

South Africa – LWLWW

Pitch and Venue

The Wankhede Stadium is home to some of the most vocal fans in the country. The venue has been a happy hunting ground for India in the past. They have won 10 out of the 16 ODIs held at the venue. Three of these were against the South Africans, who have never tasted victory on this ground.

The pitch always assists the spinners not so much by vicious turn but substantial bounce. India won’t mind that at all. The South African pacers who have that extra yard of pace will also love to put the Indian on the backfoot.

Stats and facts:

16 – Team India has played 16 ODIs at the Wankhede out of which they have won 10 and have been on the losing side on 6 occasions.

0 – The South African team has played 3 One Day International matches in Mumbai and has lost all three of them.

3 – India and South Africa have met thrice in Mumbai, and the home team has won all the 3 matches.

20 – The India v South Africa 5th ODI will be the 20th ODI match to be played at the Wankeded Stadium in Mumbai. Last ODI that India played here was against England 23rd October 2011, India had won the match by 6 wickets.

10 – Teams batting 1st have won 10 ODIs.

9 – Teams that have batted 2nd at Wankhede have won 9 out of the 19 ODI matches.

239/8– Average 1st innings total at the ground is 239/8.

358/6 – Highest team total at the Wankhede is 358/6 by New Zealand against Canada during the ICC World Cup 2011.

145 – The best partnership in Mumbai is between Sri Lankan pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, the two had constructed a partnership worth 145 runs against New Zealand in the ICC World Cup 2011.

151* – The record for the highest individual score at Wankhede is held by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya.

114 – Highest score by an Indian in Mumbai is by the local lad Sachin Tendulakr, he had scored 114 against South Africa in the 1996/97 series.

162/101 – Pacers have been more effective on the Mumbai turf and have picked up 162 wickets where as the spinners have got 101 wickets.

Probable XI:

India:

MS Dhoni (C), Virat Kohli, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Axar Patel, Suresh Raina, Mohit Sharma,

South Africa: 

AB de Villiers (C), Faf du Plessis, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Hashim Amla, Aaron Phangiso

[interaction id=”562b450dafdd55437cb62b87″]