Preview: SA vs Ind (2nd ODI): Team India Hoping To Extent Their Lead In Centurion
By CricShots - Feb 3, 2018 1:22 pm
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In the second ODI in Centurion, the resilient Team India will look to make the most of the momentum they have gained in the last two matches over South Africa especially after their two star batsmen Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers got injured and ruled out.

Team India looking to carry forward the momentum to Centurion

The visitors won their first-ever ODI against South Africa at Durban on Thursday by six wickets and took a 1-0 lead in the six-match series. That defeat ended the Proteas’ 17-match unbeaten run at home stretching back to February 2016, when they had lost to England at Port Elizabeth.

In the aftermath of the Durban defeat, the hosts also lost skipper du Plessis to a finger injury. He had suffered a blow during the first ODI and later scans revealed that he had suffered a fracture, thus ruling him out for three to six weeks. He will miss the remainder of the limited-overs series against India.

This was on top of AB de Villiers’ finger injury, sustained during the third Test at Wanderers, but he was only ruled out of the first three ODIs. After all this, the hosts will be very demoralized after the turn of events, especially since they need to fight back to avoid going 2-0 down so early in the series.

Also read: Aiden Markram becomes the new skipper

Batsman Farhaan Behardien has been recalled to the ODI squad, while Khayelihle Zondo is expected to continue to sit out, as Behardien will walk into the playing eleven given the circumstances. The latter had last featured against Bangladesh in October 2017.

Wicket-keeper batsman Heinrich Klaasen has also been drafted as a backup for Quinton de Kock. The latter has been struggling for form, and scored an inconsistent 34 off 49 balls in the first game. It is tough to imagine that de Kock will be dropped just yet, but Klaasen’s inclusion ought to send him a message about the team management’s intent.

The Proteas’ management has another headache before the Centurion ODI, though, as they have selected Aiden Markram as the new skipper who has the experience of just 2 ODis. South Africa’s bother doesn’t end here. The hosts will momentarily lose their no.1 status in the ICC ODI rankings should India take a 2-0 lead in Centurion. As it is, the Men in Blue need a 4-2 overall series’ victory to step up and affirmatively claim the top spot in ODIs.

They will be carrying the winning momentum into this second ODI, after a remarkable victory at the Wanderers’ Test and another easy win at Durban. Unlike Kingsmead, India have a better record in Centurion, having played 11 ODIs inclusive of four wins and five losses. Their most famous win here came against Pakistan in the 2003 ODI World Cup.

Against South Africa, they have played five ODIs at Centurion, winning two and losing as many. The Indian team management, of course, doesn’t pay attention to such statistics. They are more concerned with their cricketers’ current form instead. In that light, the visitors don’t have any selection bothers at the moment.

No.4 was the only spot under threat, but Ajinkya Rahane’s impressive 79 runs off 86 balls in the first ODI has meant that he will occupy this spot in the ongoing series for sure. The Centurion pitch came under sharp criticism for its ‘sub-continental type’ nature during the second Test here, which South Africa won by 135 runs. It is understood that the grounds men would have done a better job for this series, albeit a flat wicket is still expected in keeping with the shorter formats.

Also read: Du Plessis ruled out of the series

It remains to be seen though if there will be some assistance for spin like in Durban. Irrespective of conditions though, Virat Kohli might go with the same playing XI. It would mean another trial by wrist-spin for South Africa’s wasted batting line-up, as Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will look to wreak havoc once again.

The hosts might give Lungi Ngidi a chance in the Centurion ODI as Andile Phehlukwayo didn’t perform well in the first ODI and Behardien is also expected to make a comeback.

The second ODI will be a day-game (the only one in this series) on account of a Sunday as is the norm in the rainbow nation. A full house is expected nevertheless.

Probable XIs

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram (C), JP Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal and Japrit Bumrah.