The opening contest of the ODI series between India and South Africa was washed out in Dharamshala. Therefore the series remains level heading into the second match in Lucknow.
India are looking to bounce back to form after suffering a defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their ODI and Test series. The Black Caps won all three ODI matches before easing to victory in the two Test games. As a result, Virat Kohli and his team need a win to regain their form on the international scene. Shikhar Dhawan is back in the side after missing the ODIs and Test matches against the Black Caps. Kohli himself needs to find his optimum touch with the bat. All eyes will be on a response from the home side back on their turf.
South Africa arrived in India with momentum after whitewashing Australia their recent ODI series. Quinton de Kock’s men lost the T20I series, but were able to bounce back to sweep the Aussies. There is a lot of emerging talent in the Proteas’ ranks as they look to rebuild their side after an exodus of key players. Head coach Mark Boucher and De Kock will be desperate for their improving side to take another scalp in the 50-over format.
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India were off the boil in their tour of New Zealand. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of their defeats in the ODI and Test series was the form of Kohli. The India skipper has been outstanding for the past four years, displaying a level of excellence across all three formats that few players in the world have been able to match. However, for once, Kohli looked human at the crease. He scored only 75 runs in his three innings in the ODI series, which dropped his average below 60.
It’s a mark of how impressive Kohli has been in the 50-over format that his average was at that level. Even the best players in the game have had tough spells in the middle. It would be no surprise to see the 31-year-old back to the peak of his powers against the Proteas. Kohli has an imperious record against South Africa, averaging 64.35, scoring four centuries and six fifties in 27 matches against them. Look out for the India skipper to lead the way for his team to bounce back to their best. That is why we’ve selected him as our best bet for this match.
Seamer Jasprit Bumrah was also surprisingly out of form against the Black Caps. Bumrah went wicketless in the three ODIs, failing to make an impact for his team. The 26-year-old has arguably been the best white-ball bowler in the world over the last three years. His struggles played a huge role in his side’s defeat and they will need Bumrah back to his best to defeat the Proteas. The seamer has taken 12 wickets in his eight matches against South Africa and will be desperate to improve those numbers.
The Proteas were outstanding in their win over the Aussies. De Kock was not on song during the three matches, failing to thrive at the top of the order. Fortunately the emergence of Heinrich Klaasen and Janneman Malan allowed South Africa to put runs on the board to defeat Australia.
Klaasen was excellent in the middle order, notching his maiden ODI century in the opener which set the tone for the rest of the series. Klaasen added half-centuries in the other two games, including an unbeaten knock of 68 to take his side over the line to complete the whitewash. He has the all-round game needed to thrive in India. Expect him to be in the runs once more.
Malan was the match-winner in Bloemfontein and at the age of 22 is the next player Boucher will be hoping develops to become a top-quality batsman at the top of the order to ease the pressure on De Kock. There are bright signs for the Proteas as they aim to retool their batting line-up, although Faf Du Plessis and Temba Bavuma are on hand to retake their places in the side if they opt for experience in the sub-continent.
Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje led the attack well in the series against the Aussies. Ndigi is fast becoming one of the best limited-overs bowlers in the world, while Nortje has devastating pace. Once Kagiso Rabada regain his fitness, the Proteas will have a potent trio of fast bowlers to throw at opposing teams. Look for Ngidi to lead the way in India due to his experience in the Indian Premier League.
The conditions on Sunday should be perfect for cricket. It is forecast for sunny weather throughout the day, which is a stark contrast to the washout see in Dharamshala. The temperature will peak at 25°C during the afternoon before dipping towards 21°C in the early evening when the match is scheduled to finish.
India will be aiming to bounce back from their disappointing tour of New Zealand. Their key players underperformed but should return to their best now that they are on familiar ground. Kohli and Bumrah hold the key to their success and it would be surprising to see the duo struggle once again.
South Africa were impressive to beat Australia at home, but travelling to win in India is another matter, especially with an inexperienced batting line-up. Expect the home side to triumph in the second ODI, ensuring that they can avoid defeat in the three-match series.
India to beat South Africa 2nd ODI – 1.36 Betway