24th May: Mumbai Indians v R. Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
New Zealand's two-wicket win over Australia in Perth made it four losses in a row for the home side. Yes, you read that right, four times in a row Australia, reigning World champions twice over, have been beaten. Now, there are two ways I can go here - one is to proclaim that it's the end of an era and that Australia are finished, or to pay tribute to South Africa and the way in which they outplayed their hosts for much of their tour and look forward to Australia bouncing back.
Those of you who have been listening to and reading anything I've said, written and posted in the last two years will already know where I'm headed here. Australia are far from finished and I believe too many have written them off too quickly. They will be far removed (and far better) side when they have Brett Lee, Shane Watson, and Andrew Symonds back and I expect the return series in South Africa to be just as competitive, if not more so.
Immediately after the 2007 World Cup, I said that Bangladesh were my choice to win in 2011. I've already admitted that through circumstances that even I could not have foreseen, I've got that wrong. Shortly after, however, I wrote a piece stating that Australia will be there or thereabouts in 2011 and I'm sticking by that.
However, for the moment, they have been dethroned and are off the top of the world ODI rankings. Ominously for the rest of the world, the last time that the South Africans knocked them off top spot was immediately prior to the 2007 World Cup where Australia simply blew away the opposition.
The retirements of key players has hit them hard since then and the good fortune that South Africa have enjoyed in being able to field more or less the same eleven for the last 12 months or more helped them greatly in Australia.
Such a settled side means that every single person in the squad knows their role and in sport, familiarity with one another breeds trust and fruitful partnerships, both with the ball and bat. It was a feature of England's success in the Ashes of 2005 and of course, the McGrath-Warne partnership served Australia so well over the years.
I can't confirm if the rumours that JP Duminy walked across the sea to get home from Perth are true but he might as well have done given what an incredible tour he had. It doesn't get much better than hitting the winning runs chasing 414 on debut and then scoring a maiden century to set up the series win in your second match but he carried on, excelling in the ODI and Twenty20 series as well. Expect the compact left-hander to go for less money than KP at the IPL auction this week, but make more of an impact on the field in April.
The key to beating Australia (or anyone at the top level, for that matter) is to somehow ensure that during a long tour, no player misses out, or put another way, make sure that everybody is on top of their game and contributing. That was exactly what the South Africans managed with the unexpected bonuses of Dale Steyn chipping in with the bat and Duminy with the ball.
The unsung heroes, namely Neil McKenzie, Makhaya Ntini and Paul Harris, who don't always grab the headlines, all played their part - McKenzie unexpectedly marshalling ODI run chases with cool panache, Ntini running in endlessly and almost saving the Melbourne Test with the bat and Harris picking up key breakthroughs with his deceptively tricky left-arm spin.
The South African selectors will have a tricky challenge ahead of them if Ashwell Prince is fit for the return Test series as they try to accommodate their vice-captain alongside Duminy. However, their challenge is nothing compared to that of Australia.
And although they fought back after 2005 to beat England 5-0, and although Duncan Fletcher was involved in all three series, things will be a lot closer this time around. South Africa fully deserved the warm welcome home they received from their fans last week and if that didn't bring home to them the magnitude of what they had done then nothing will.
It will also undoubtedly inspire them to push for new heights in February - Indian fans will probably disagree but they must realise that they are world leaders in Test cricket in all but name and by the time England visit in the winter, they could have put that beyond any reasonable doubt and be the team everyone is aiming for at the top of the rankings.
© Cricket World 2009
Cricket World Editor John Pennington, the 'voice' of Cricket World Radio, writes a weekly column on Mondays for www.cricketworld.com.