Euro 2020 Special
 

India v South Africa 2nd ODI Preview: Can India Level Things Up?

India and South Africa will meet in their second ODI on Sunday, October 9th, at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi. The match is scheduled to begin at 11.30 am.

In a rain affected first game in Lucknow on Thursday which reduced the match to a 40 over a side contest, South Africa had batted first and made 349/4, largely thanks to an unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 139 between Heinrich Klaasen. In reply India could only muster 240/8, despite a heroic attempt to tilt the match his team’s way from wicketkeeper/batter Sanju Samson, who made an undefeated 86. In the end, though, the task was beyond him.

 

Key issues

Indian fielding must improve

One area where India needs to improve is in the field. They dropped no fewer than four catches during the South African innings and, on a pitch in Lucknow that offered both some swing and spin, leaked too many runs. In a game of fine margins, that can make all the difference between a win and a loss.

 

Dhawan needs to lead from the front

Shikhar Dhawan has a big responsibility on his shoulders. Not only must he lead a largely inexperienced bunch of players at this level, but he is also expected to set the tempo for their innings with the bat. His dismissal for just 4 in the first match was a rare failure for him. He will be hoping to set a better example this time.

 

Head to head

This will be 89th meeting between the two sides in ODIs. South Africa’s victory on Thursday extended their head to head record to 50 wins, as opposed to 35 for India, with no result in the remaining four matches.

It meant also that the South Africans have won all four ODIs played between the two teams this year.

 

India’s ODI record in Ranchi

This will be the sixth time that India have played an ODI in Ranchi. They won two and lost two of their previous matches, with the fifth ending in a no result.

The last time they played an ODI here was back in March 2019, when Australia were the visitors on that occasion. The tourists won by 32 runs, despite Virat Kohli making an unbeaten century.

 

The pitch

The Ranchi pitch usually favours the batters, because the pace bowlers struggle for traction on the surface, and there is likely to be little lateral movement for them. The average first innings score here has been 253.5.

It may offer some assistance to the spinners, and may grip and turn, especially later in the match as it wears and gets slower. For the side winning the toss, putting first may be the preferred option, because conditions are likely to get more difficult later in the day.

 

The weather

Yet again weather might have a part to play in this match. Although temperatures on Sunday should not top 30 degrees Celsius, there is a chance of rain, and there is likely to be a substantial amount of cloud cover (which could offer some help to swing bowlers). It may also be quite windy.

 

Predicted teams

India are likely to name the same starting XI, although there could be a temptation to play Deepak Chahal in place of Mohammed Siraj with both vying for inclusion in the World Cup squad. However, this is unlikely to be a pitch on which seamers will shine, whoever is chosen.

Apart from that, Shikhar Dhawan is likely to go down the conservative route and used tried and trusted players. The time for experimentation will come in the third match in Delhi if they also lose this game.

South Africa are also expected to be unchanged. Having been beaten in the T20I series, they will want to win this one to give the squad a valuable morale boost ahead of the World Cup later this month.

 

Prediction

South Africa must be considered favourites because, as far as ODI cricket is concerned, they have the momentum behind them when it comes to matches between these two teams. They also have the benefit of having almost a full strength team at their disposal, whereas Shikhar Dhawan is leading a second string squad, all the players who might otherwise have featured having already arrived in Australia ahead of the World Cup.

 

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