South Africa’s white ball tour of India ended with a whimper not a bang, as they were convincingly beaten by 7 wickets in the third ODI in New Delhi. That meant they lost the series as well, to go with their earlier defeat in the T20I series.
In damp conditions, India won the toss and invited the tourists to bat, but they were bowled out for just 99 in less than 28 overs, unable to cope on the day with the Indian spinners, with Heinrich Klaasen, who made 34, the only one of their batters to emerge with a modicum of credit.
India knocked off the runs required in less than 20 overs for the loss of three wickets. Shubman Gill top scored for them with 49, whilst Shreyas Iyer maintained his recent form with an unbeaten 20.
India spinners reign supreme
In conditions that offered them a great deal of help, the Indian spinners reigned supreme. Leading the way was Kuldeep Yadav who returned figures of 4 – 18, whilst Washington Sundar took 2 – 15. Meanwhile, Shahbaz Ahmed, playing his second ODI, finished with 2 – 32, his best yet for India.
The other two wickets were claimed by Mohammad Siraj, who continues to stake his claim to replace the injured Jasprit Bumrah in the World Cup later this month. Their inability to deal with spin will have been noted by their Group 2 opponents – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and, potentially Sri Lanka – and although Australian pitches may not offer such help, it is a weakness they will be looking to exploit.
South Africa illness concerns
South Africa were not only missing regular skipper Temba Bavuma, but also stand-in skipper – and their best spinner Keshav Maharaj – with illness. With Tabraiz Shamsi also sitting out the match sick, not only was the side depleted, but there are now concerns as to whether all three will have recovered in time for the World Cup.
Defeat is bad news for the tourists
This is the fourth occasion in their history that South Africa have been bowled out for less than a hundred in an ODI (and the second time this year after England dismissed them for just 83).
It was also their lowest ODI total against India, the previous worst being the 117 they made in Nairobi in 1999.
The loss leaves them 11th in the Super League table, and, with their ODI series against Australia having been cancelled to make way for the new SA20 competition, they are running out of opportunities to earn the points they need in order to directly qualify for the 2023 50 over a side World Cup.
They may need to enter the qualifying competition as things stand.
It also does not bode for their more immediate prospects in Australia. Essentially the same personnel will be involved, and morale cannot be high in the camp after the Indian tour.
Winning the toss on the pitch at the Arun Jaitley Stadium was vital. Four days of incessant rain before the match, and drizzle on the morning of it meant that the pitch was damp, and it was only when India were batting that the ball started to carry through to the batters with any great pace.
It meant India had the better of the conditions but they certainly made the most of them.
Given though, that, at one stage it seemed certain that the game would be called off, the fact that the match went ahead was a minor miracle in itself.
Encouragement for India
India can take a lot of heart from this series. Having gone into it fielding a second string outfit, with the main squad having already departed for Australia, they have more than held their own against a full strength South African side.
Shreyas Iyer and Siraj have both staked their World Cup claims, whilst Sanju Samson has proved that he can be an excellent performer at this level. Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan’s innings in the second ODI gave the selectors a timely reminder of what he can do.
It also suggests that when the World Cup comes around next year, that the home side will have plenty of options in most positions, with the possible exception of having another strike bowler who offers the same threat as Bumrah if he is not available for any reason.
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