Heinrich Klaasen passes trial by spin as South Africa salvage hope against India in ODI series

Ashish Peter 11/02/2018
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Klaasen took the game away from India with an explosive cameo.

South Africa kept themselves alive in the six-match series after securing a thrilling five-wicket win over India in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers.

The hosts did well to pull things back and restrict India to 289-7 in the PinkDay ODI before getting over the line with a revised target of 202 in 28 overs due to a rain delay.

Here, we look at the things learned as India’s dream of capturing a maiden series win in South Africa was put on hold momentarily in Johannesburg.

THE GOOD

DHAWAN’S 100 IN 100TH

Playing in his 100th ODI for India, Shikhar Dhawan made it an occasion to remember as he slammed his 13th century in style. The left-handed opener did not have it all his own way as he was beaten multiple times by South Africa’s bowlers through the course of his innings, narrowly escaping playing onto his stumps on two instances.

However, he ploughed on and when chances presented themselves, he grabbed them with some emphatic pulls and flicks to the on-side. The 32-year-old brought up the second consecutive century stand of over 100 runs with skipper Virat Kohli as he became the first Indian batsman to score a century on his 100th appearance, and ninth overall.

Dhawan’s 4,309 runs make him the second-highest run-getter after 100 ODIs in international cricket, behind only Hashim Amla’s tally of 4,808.

The century for the centurion.

Ton-up for Shikhar Dhawan in his 100th match.

HEINRICH KLASSEN’S CREATIVITY IS KEY

The wicket-keeper batsman only got his chance due to an injury to Quinton de Kock but he made it count with a cameo as entertaining as they come. Throughout the series, India’s wrist-spinners have been on top of the Proteas, but Klaasen had come prepared to ruffle their feathers.

The right-hander used sweeps and reverse sweeps to great effect against the spinners on Saturday to put them off their game. For once, the spin-twins were made to doubt themselves and Klaasen, along with David Miller, inflicted maximum punishment to pull South Africa ahead after India had dominated for much of the chase.

THE BAD

YUZVENDRA CHAHAL BLOWS IT BIG TIME

It was all going well for India’s wrist-spinners at the start when Kuldeep Yadav came on. The youngster picked up two wickets in an economical first-spell to put India on top. So when Yuzvendra Chahal castled Miller in his first over, it looked like the spinners would run away with the game once again.

Unfortunately for the visitors, Chahal was found to have overstepped his mark and Miller had to be called back, all the way from the pavilion. From there, things went from bad to worse for Chahal and Kuldeep as the batsmen made hay. The former subsequently overstepped once more and was hit for a huge six off the free hit.

He finished with figures of 1-68 from his five-and-a-half overs to cap off a miserable night.

ROHIT SHARMA’S WRETCHED TOUR CONTINUES

It is simply not happening for Rohit Sharma. The opening batsman had a poor Test series where he accumulated only 78 runs in four innings and has carried that form over to the limited-overs clashes with three poor outings in the opening three ODIs.

He did not fare any better on Saturday as he fell for just five runs as Kagiso Rabada inflicted a brilliant caught and bowled. This is now the sixth instance in eight innings that Rohit has succumbed to the young pacer.

With this, Rohit has now scored only 40 runs in the four ODIs with a high score of 20, underlining a series to forget so far for Kohli’s deputy.

No change in fortunes for Rohit Sharma just yet.

Sharma slump: No change in fortunes for Rohit (l) yet.

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India batsman Rohit Sharma's star fading fast in South Africa after the highs of 2017

Ashish Peter 10/02/2018
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Rohit Sharma's dismal tour of South Africa continues.

Rohit Sharma had a 2017 to remember in ODI cricket. The India limited-overs opening batsman registered six centuries in just 21 innings at an average of nearly 72. During the course of the year, he also notched up his third one-day double ton having already become the first batsman ever to hit two.

The Mumbai-man was also given a chance in the Test side as India enjoyed a long home season. He hit two fifties and a century against Sri Lanka in two Tests.

Hence, much was expected from Rohit as India embarked on a long tour of South Africa. Such had been his form that Virat Kohli selected him over Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests.

It has been almost a month and a half since Rohit arrived in South Africa at the start of the year and he has yet to register a fifty in eight innings. He was completely out of sorts in the two Test defeats bar one innings of 47 at Centurion. That innings came when the match was already lost.

Rohit had endured a torrid time against Kagiso Rabada.

Rohit had endured a torrid time against Kagiso Rabada.

His scores in the Test series read 11, 10, 10 and 47. His poor showing led to him being dropped for the final Test as India notched up a rare overseas win . If Rohit thought that the ODI series would bring a change in fortunes, he was proven wrong. His highest score so far is 20 after four matches for a poor tally of 40 runs.

The right-handed batsman is fast becoming South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada’s bunny with his dismissal on Saturday at the Wanderers the sixth time in eight innings that Rohit has fallen to the Proteas pacer.

From the highs of 2017 to the lows in South Africa, it has been a tumultuous ride for Rohit. There is no doubt he has the ability to turn it around soon. But the only question is when will that day come?

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Jos Buttler eyeing revenge over Australia but admits England will have to improve

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Jos Buttler is hoping for one more crack at toppling Australia’s Twenty20 specialists but knows England will have to improve considerably to reach the final of the Trans-Tasman tri-series.

An Australian side filled with fresh faces from the Big Bash booked their spot in the Auckland showpiece with a dominant seven-wicket win in Melbourne, having already coasted past England in their first match and blown away co-hosts New Zealand in the curtain-raiser.

England now need to back-to-back victories over the Black Caps in Wellington and Hamilton to stand any chance of heading home with the silverware but Buttler believes a desire to right some wrongs will go a long way.

“It was a disappointing day, especially after a poor performance in Hobart. We were determined to show what we are capable of and we didn’t do that,” said Buttler, deputising as captain for the injured Eoin Morgan.

“But that’s the beauty of a tri-series, we still have a chance to make the final. Hopefully we can meet Australia and put on a better show.

“We haven’t showcased our ability as we know we can yet and there are guys in that dressing room who will be determined to come back strong.”

In truth, England’s performance represented a significant downturn on their previous losing effort.

Last time out they started brightly with the bat and conjured some late drama with a spirited display in the field. In front of 42,000 at the MCG they were muted from the off and set a slender target of 138 which never
looked like containing Australia’s batting line-up.

Buttler produced the top-score of the match but laboured for his 46, while the likes of D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell all batted with unfettered freedom in a speedy chase.

Aaron Finch faced only five balls at the end of the match, firing the last two into the stands to seal victory with 33 deliveries spare.

That was the final act of England’s long tour of Australia, comprising a 4-0 Ashes defeat and a 4-1 one-day success to go with the last two T20s.

“We go to New Zealand now, a nice change of scene,” noted Buttler.

Man-of-the-match Kane Richardson, who claimed three for 33 to top and tail the tourists’ innings, opted for a respectful tone at odds with the crushing nature of the result.

“It’s always nice to win but I wouldn’t read too much into us having the wood over them. It’s a pretty similar England team to the ODIs and they smashed us pretty well in that series. I’d expect them to bounce back.”

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