Fresh from 4-1 lead in the six-match ODI series, India would look to hand South Africa a 5-1 embarrassment when they take on the Proteas in the final and sixth ODI at Centurion on Friday. South Africa would look to salvage some pride by winning the sixth ODI. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of the sixth ODI between South Africa and India.
Top three in roaring form: The Indian openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma , and skipper Virat Kohli have done bulk of the scoring in the series win. In fact, India are too dependent on these three to put runs on the board. The three will once again be the key to India’s success in the sixth ODI considering the roaring form they are in at the moment. India will count on these three to come good once again.
Must read: Secret of Virat Kohli’s fitness
Spin combo: YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have made the difference to India’s fortunes in limited-overs cricket. The two have together taken 30 wickets between themselves in five ODIs so far. And they look good for more. South Africa have struggled to read their variations and slow change of pace. It bodes well for India.
Middle-order woes: India’s middle-order has been found wanting in the ODI series so far. The likes of MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya have been guilty of not building on the platform provided by the top three. And India paid dearly by losing the Pink ODI via Duckworth and Lewis method. If India had to make a strong bid to win the series 5-1, the middle-order will have to fire.
Squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.
South Africa strengths:
Bowling has been good in the death overs: Twice in two matches, South African bowlers have dented India’s hopes of putting a total in excess of 300. And both the times, South African bowlers have restricted India to below-60 runs in the last 10 overs. Their death bowling has been excellent, but it is mostly due to a struggling India’s middle-order.
South Africa weaknesses:
Batting has been a big letdown: Despite the return of AB de Villiers, South Africa’s batting has struggled against India’s constant pursuit of wickets. The likes of Kuldeep, Chahal have made merry, taking wickets regularly to dent South Africa’ chances of chasing or putting up a big score. Their batsmen are still clueless against Indian spinners. It won’t be any different in the sixth ODI.
South Africa squad: Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lunga Ngidi, A Phehlukwayo, K Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zonda, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen.
Prediction: The way Team India is going, it’s likely they will eye nothing but a 5-1 finish to rub salt in South Africa’s wounds. South Africa would come hard at India to salvage some pride. But Kohli and Co. will be favourites to start with in the sixth ODI.
Possible winner: India