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AB de Villiers returns: Will he help South Africa make a comeback?

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
969   //    10 Feb 2018, 01:47 IST

3rd Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh
Will Mr. 360 help South Africa make a comeback?

With India being 3-0 ahead in the ODI series against South Africa, things don’t look good for the struggling home team against the formidable visitors. With top order giants like Hashim Amla failing to give the team a good start and a constant failure of the fragile middle order in the absence of Faf du Plessis after the first ODI itself, South Africa has failed to cross even the 200 mark twice in the ongoing series.

With the series at stake for the home side, their failure to play the Indian wrist spinners is becoming evident after every match. The South African team has a dismal average of 11.13 against wrist-spin since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. The departure of Faf du Plessis, who contributed nearly half of the total South African score in the first ODI, due to injury, was a big blow for South Africa.

There seems to be a little ray of hope in the form of AB de Villiers who is returning back from injury on the eve of the fourth ODI. Going by the records, AB De Villiers alone averages 61.60 in the ODIs against the Indian spinners. He has also managed to score at just over a run a ball. This itself gives you a fair idea how dangerous he can be and what South Africa has been missing so far against a side whose spinners are making a mockery of the so-called 'quick pitches' of South Africa.

But, all these facts do raise a major question - Is South Africa too reliant on their key players like De Villiers and Du Plessis who are walking towards their dawn? Well, the answer to this question seems to be yes, because there is no one in the South African middle order who can play spin the way these two do and especially De Villiers who can bat on a turning track with the top as well as the lower order. He can be explosive whenever he wants. One such example of him doing this against India itself is in Chennai in the 4th ODI in 2015 where his gutsy knock of 112 almost took the match away from India.

With Mr. 360 all set to return in the 15-member squad named for the next three ODIs, South Africa will be hoping for a change of fortunes. However, not only De Villiers but also the rest of the South African squad would have to perform at their very best to prevent India from winning their first ever bilateral ODI series in South Africa.

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CONTRIBUTOR
Sports columnist. Proud Indian
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