Friday, January 21, 2011

Historic series win beckons India

India are on the verge of a rare series win in a land where they have their worst win-loss record. Prior to this series, they had just won just three ODIs against South Africa in South Africa. It was that bleak. The start to this series hinted at more of the same as they capitulated against bounce in Durban. However, they bounced back in style, with a little bit of help from South Africa, to go 2-1 up.
The last pieces of the World Cup puzzle are slowly falling in place too. Yusuf Pathan sealed the No. 7 slot with a violent knock, and Virat Kohli continues to put pressure for a spot in the top order with impressive performances. It's the opening position that seems a bit wasted on players who aren't in the World Cup squad. And neither M Vijay nor Rohit Sharma has seized their chances. Vijay has combusted cheaply and Rohit has looked out of the depth. Will India replace one of them with Parthiv Patel in the next game? Rohit might stay for he offers an extra option with his offbreaks.
South Africa have lost two in a row now but there have been a couple of positives: JP Duminy played two responsible knocks and is beginning to show that he can lead the lower order through crisis situations and Faf du Plessis showed promise. He played a responsible and restrained knock in the last ODI and will have two more games to show his hitting prowess. Albie Morkel, who was drafted in for the last two games, has since been released from the squad, leaving South Africa without a suitable all-round option to replace the struggling Wayne Parnell. They may be forced to stop shielding legspinner Imran Tahir against India and give him a chance to prove his worth.
Form guide

South Africa: LLWWL
India: WWLWW

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