Proteas hope to ride on momentum

Plot:

After three matches of domination by Virat Kohli and his men, the Proteas got their act right in the fourth ODI when the series was at stake for the hosts. The game was affected by rain and lightning on several occasions. The interruptions helped the Proteas more than India, who lost momentum while batting in the first innings. Aiden Markram will be a relieved captain after winning his first ODI as lead of the side, having lost the earlier two. The win should give a boost to their confidence after some of their batsmen tackled spin with intent and aggression.

The Indians will not be too perturbed with how things went about in the fourth ODI. They will just rue some of the chances they missed on the field. Shreyas Iyer’s drop and Chahal’s overstepping let Miller cut loose and Klaasen’s act was just too good to keep India from applying any sort of pressure in the last few overs of the chase. South Africa will be happy that AB de Villiers got among the runs on his return. He is the back-bone of the middle order, and a lot depends on Mr. 360. India were pretty good with the bat, and did well to get to 290 when the pitch looked a bit difficult to bat freely on after Dhawan’s century.

The South Africans will be pleased with the way their bowlers pulled things back in the first innings of the fourth ODI. It looked like India would easily go past 300 at one stage, but they kept them 10 runs under the mark eventually. Rabada continues to spearhead the attack with astounding success, and the support he receives from Morkel and Morris has been exceptional too. One aspect of their bowling they would look to tighten is in the spin department. The Indian batsmen haven’t been troubled much by their spinners, and have scored runs at will against them. Now that the Proteas are in their groove, we can expect a tighter contest in the fifth ODI.

Stage:

St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth:

The carnival-like atmosphere in Port Elizabeth should be fitting for a gruelling contest between South Africa and India. The hosts have beaten India in both the ODIs the teams have contested in, at this venue. The last time India played an ODI here, was over 20 years ago, in 1997. The venue has seen a few low-scoring affairs in the recent past. If the pitch assists the bowlers, we could witness another tight, yet low-scoring game.

Acts:

Yuzvendra Chahal vs David Miller:

Miller’s struggles against the Indian spinners has seemed endless throughout this series. In the previous ODI, he could have been potentially dismissed thrice in an over by Chahal. The first chance was a dropped catch by Iyer, the second where Miller was bowled by Chahal over-stepped, and the third one when Miller holed out in the deep off the Free Hit. Chahal eventually trapped him in front, but it was too late. The battle should be fun to watch in this ODI.

Rohit Sharma vs Kagiso Rabada:

Rohit Sharma has fallen to Kagiso Rabada on three of the four occasions in this ODI series. He has been done in by short deliveries as well as swinging ones. Rohit is not used to lean patches in an entire series, and might be determined to contribute, watching the likes of Dhawan, Kohli & Rahane get among the runs. It will be interesting to see what game-plan he has against the wily Rabada in the fifth ODI.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Hashim Amla:

Jasprit Bumrah has bowled well in this series, although it has been the Indian spinners who have hogged the limelight. He has troubled the openers regularly, and has provided early breakthroughs as well. Hashim Amla has been troubled by Jasprit on several occasions. Bumrah will look to continue picking up Amla early and not letting the Proteas get off to a sound start.


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