Strategies that South Africa should adopt in the 2nd ODI
After a humiliating defeat at Durban, the Proteas will look to bounce back in the second ODI at Centurion. Things have gone from bad to worse for them. After losing AB de Villiers, they have now lost their skipper due to a finger injury which took place during an attempt to get rid of Virat Kohli at first slip.
Aiden Markram, who has played just two ODIs, has been assigned to lead the side for the remainder of the games, in the absence of their skipper. This decision is hard to understand as they have got the experience of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and, Morne Morkel. This decision came in as a shocker to the cricketing world.
Though the 23-year-old has led South Africa to a U-19 World Cup victory in the UAE back in 2014, things are not going to be easy for him. The young man is yet to find his feet in the ODIs, and to lead a side without the likes of Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, is going to be a daunting task for him.
Farhaan Behardien, who has been in and out of the South African ODI squad, has been named as a replacement for Du Plessis.
Keys to success
For South Africa to make an impact in the second ODI, the fast bowlers will have to make early inroads. If any of the top four in the Indian line-up gets settled, South Africa will be looking at a target of 300 plus in case they are batting second. The bounce of the high veld should definitely help the likes of Rabada and Morkel. The short pitched stuff worked well towards the end of the last game, and they should make them smell the leather a lot more this time around.
Kayelihle Zondo must be included in the middle order. He has been in good touch off late in the domestic circuit. He has scored loads of runs for his franchise, the Dolphins. Though he didn't have the best of times in the field as a substitute fielder, dropping a sitter at square leg, he can prove to be handy in the middle-order.
Indians, being the best players of spin bowling in world cricket, just milked Imran Tahir for singles. Facing Tahir proved to be bread and butter stuff for Kohli & Co. There was hardly any pressure on the batsman and the champion leggie looked like an ordinary bowler. Centurion being a better batting track, and the way ball flies in the high veld, it's unlikely that he'll be a threat.
Considering the nature of the pitch in Centurion, it won't be a bad idea to go in with five fast bowlers. It has been a treat to watch Lungi Ngidi during the Test series; he bagged some crucial wickets in both the tests that he played. He troubled the best of the lot in the Indian line up.
Ngidi being a potent bowler can be a good option in the middle overs, where South Africa lost a bit of grip in the last game. The steep bounce is likely to help him, as he already had an edge over the Indian batsmen during the Test series.
South Africa has to be a lot more attacking this time around, particularly with the new ball. Kohli got an edge when he was batting at 1, which just brushed through a diving Faf's fingers at first slip. Kohli ended up getting his first ODI hundred on South African soil. With a second slip in place, the ball would have landed in his lap.
David Miller and JP Duminy looked very ordinary against the spinners. They should take a leaf out of Kohli's book, and play the ball late with soft hands into the gaps while rotating the strike on a regular basis. Miller, having a good sweep shot, must utilize it to good effect, and ensure that none of the spinners gets settled. Unconventional shots can prove to be a good option.
The Proteas looked very clumsy in the field last game. Apart from that brilliant piece of effort from Markram to dismiss Dhawan, they were very ordinary on the field. Their shoulders dropped very quickly, and they looked unlike South Africa. Every time the ball went anywhere near Morkel, there was an extra single for the taking. This time around, they need to show a lot more intensity on the field and they can't afford any lapses.
Without the likes of Du Plessis and De Villiers, the top order has to take the responsibility upfront. Hashim Amla must anchor the innings from one end and let others play around him.