Sport

Four talking points after SA’s second ODI victory over India

By Antoinette Muller 9 December 2013

South Africa continued their dominance over India in the one-day series as they crushed the visitors by 134 runs in the second ODI in Durban on Sunday. There was much to talk about and ANTOINETTE MULLER picked four key points.

South Africa beat India by 134 in the second one-day international at Kingsmead in Durban on Sunday. This means the Protes have an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the final match at Centurion.

India won the toss and chose to field yet again and it was Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock who, once again, excelled at the top of the South African batting order. This time, though, the two openers laid the foundation which was wasted by the rest of the batsmen and it’s safe to say that their 194-run partnership was match-winning in the end.

No other partnership crossed 34 and there were only two above 20. Despite AB de Villiers being promoted up the order to number three, he was dismissed cheaply and all the rest followed suit. South Africa posted 280-6 in their 49 overs with Mohammed Shami being the stand out of the Indian bowlers, taking three for 48.

India’s batting performance was once again inept and while South Africa’s bowling was good and exerted pressure, it was a number of loose and irresponsible shot which led to India’s undoing. Just one player – Suresh Raina – managed to pass the 30-run mark and India were bundled out for 146 in just 25 overs. Dale Steyn, with three for 17, and Lonwabo Tsotsobe with four for 25, were the pick of an all-round impressive South African bowling performance as the Proteas continued to bounce back from an embarrassing series loss against Pakistan. There was much to talk about, and here are four key points.

Why is MS Dhoni not forcing South Africa to chase?

Duckworth-Lewis and chasing are two of South Africa’s enemies. When these two factors combine, it usually spells disaster for the Proteas. Yet, MS Dhoni has put South Africa in to bat twice now. Both times, he’s probably had one eye on the weather when making his decision, but when all factors are considered, it remains a peculiar decision. India have been good at chasing this year and they have chosen to do so quite often. In the last three years, India have won 18 games in which they won the toss and elected to field first. Out of the 40 games in which they have won the toss to bat in that period, they chose to field first 27 times and chose to bat just 13 times. That’s the kind of cricket India has played lately and it has worked for them, but it seems Dhoni’s approach has been somewhat conservative in terms of how he has limited his risks.

Steyn’s alive and Hashim Amla a national treasure

Hashim Amla has become the fastest player to 4,000 runs in ODI, surpassing Sir Vivian Richards’ record of getting there in 88 innings. Amla did so in just 81 and it’s almost inconceivable to think that, at one stage, there were pockets of people who believed that Amla was not capable for playing one-day cricket. He’s even on course to become the fastest to 5,000 runs in one-day cricket, if he keeps up his current form. Richards and Virat Kohli share that honour, both having done so in 114 innings. At Amla’s current average, he’ll get there when he plays in his 100th ODI. Amla is, beyond a doubt, one of South Africa’s finest-ever batsmen and he continues to be worth his weight in gold. On the bowling front, Dale Steyn is excelling in coloured clothing. He now has the most wickets he has ever had in an ODI calender year, having taken 27 in 13 games, beating his previous best of 26 wickets in 15 games. His wickets in 2013 have come at an average of 15.85, his lowest in his career by a country mile. There is no doubt that Steyn is in his prime and if he can keep going with this kind of form until the 2015 World Cup, he’ll be South Africa’s trump player on bouncy pitches in Australia and New Zealand.

South Africa’s opening mojo

The Proteas have gone from not having a 100-plus run partnership since 2010 to having two on the trot. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock have been superb together and have now scored 647 runs at an average of 67.70 batting together. While the two partnerships against India have been helped by some vastly mediocre bowling from India, it’s still a feat worth noting. Graeme Smith was sent home from the series before the match on Sunday and with Amla and De Kock flourishing at the top, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Smith’s one-day career comes to an end sometime soon. His experience, of course, remains of great value but in terms of where the team is going and how it is progressing, Smith doesn’t seem to fit the puzzle. He might very well decide to focus just on Tests, as well as his commitment to Surrey in England. It is unlikely that he will slot in lower down the order; it could very well be that Smith will no longer be part of the one-day plans sometime soon.

Let’s talk about DRS

Two notable umpiring decisions in the game were rather appalling. David Miller was given out leg-before when he had gotten an edge and Ajinkya Rahane was given out caught behind when he didn’t get an edge. Arguably, neither decision would have impacted the game massively; in this day and age, poor decisions should not exist. Of course, the BCCI is against DRS, for many different reasons, and thus, it has not been implemented for this series. There haven’t been any howlers in the series so far, but it’s time for the ICC to show some backbone and stand up against BCCI when it comes to making decisions that directly impact the game. DM

Photo: Hashim Amla – a national treasure. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

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