Aiden Markram’s men secured a thrilling five-wicket win at Johannesburg has set up an exciting finish with two games remaining with India currently leading the six-match series 3-1.
Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the penultimate ODI.
HAVE SOUTH AFRICA COME TO TERMS WITH WRIST-SPIN?
It was India’s two wrist-spinners who were at the forefront as the visitors stormed to victories in the first three one-dayers. They were completely on top of the Proteas batsmen as they shared 21 wickets between themselves. However, at Johannesburg, both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav came in for some heavy punishment as South Africa romped to victory.
They did have a wet outfield to contend with which made the task of gripping the ball just a bit harder but it remains to be seen if they will be able to repeat their heroics from the first three ODIs.
INDIA’S MIDDLE-ORDER WOES
When India’s middle-order was finally called to action at Johannesburg, they floundered. From a position of strength at 200-2 in 34 overs, India came undone in the death overs as they finished with 289-7 on the board.
Virat Kohli will want the likes of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya to step up to the plate when it comes to acceleration in the death overs. Both have been subdued with the bat in hand so far and it was what cost the Men in Blue in the fourth ODI.
HOSTS RIDING CONFIDENCE WAVE
The Proteas looked dead and buried at 3-0 with injuries to key personnel only compounding matters. However, AB de Villiers’ return and victory in front of a packed house at the Wanderers on PinkDay will do the confidence in the dressing room a world of good.
Expect the hosts to be a different beast altogether with confidence pumping through their veins again.
KEDAR/IYER DILEMMA FOR KOHLI
One headache for Kohli going into Port Elizabeth will be deciding who bats in the number five position. Shreyas Iyer played in the last game but he did not fare well, scoring just 18. He was also guilty of dropping a sitter off David Miller which proved to be huge turning point in the game.
It was Kedar Jadhav who was preferred in the first three matches but he got only one opportunity to bat, managing to notch just a single run to his name. His part-time off-spin provides something different though than the wrist-spinners and that could be the deciding factor given how the latter fared at Durban.
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