After India lost the match, there was the obvious talk that Pink ODIs brought back some luck for the Proteas and that AB de Villiers had a positive impact on the team. The efforts of David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo were also lauded. But these were just the apparent reasons. There were many others which were downplayed a bit. This article presents those very reasons which led to India's defeat at the Wanderers.
It was for the first time in the ODI series that the Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav was subjected to some pressure. Frankly speaking, when the likes of de Villiers, Miller, Klaasen and Phehlukwayo cut loose, the spin twins could not exactly come up with an effective response.
Chahal tried to bowl a few deliveries outside the off stump but they did not work this time around. When attacked, both spinners lost their length and ended up bowling a lot of half-trackers. They bowled 11.3 overs between them and gave away 119 runs, picking up just 3 wickets.
When play was called off during the first innings due to lightning, India were cruising along at 200-2 after 34.2 overs. Despite losing Virat Kohli, the team looked all set to post a 350-run total as Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane were still at the crease with scores of 107 and 5 respectively.
Soon after play resumed, the Men in Blue lost both Dhawan and Rahane in quick succession. This slowed down the scoring rate considerably and shifted momentum towards South Africa. In the next 15 overs, they could only add 89 runs while losing 5 wickets. India ended at 289-7 which proved to be a below-par total.
To give a candid opinion, India were a bit too complacent in this match. Virat Kohli who hardly hit the ball in the air in the initial part of his innings in the first 3 ODIs, tried hitting too many lofted shots in this match. One such risky stroke brought about his downfall as he was caught by Miller in the infield off Morris' bowling.
While bowling also, the intensity was not up to the mark as compared to the first 3 games. Chahal bowled two no balls: the first of which cost Miller's wicket and Heinrich Klaasen hit the second one for a six. Shreyas Iyer also put down Miller at square leg off Chahal. Practically, these errors cost India the match.
After bad weather delayed the match for the second time, the full 50 overs were not possible. With South Africa at 43-1 after 7.2 overs at that time, the target was revised to 202 from 28 overs. One may say that this increased the run rate for the Proteas but actually, the scenario played into their hands.
The current South African side is very inexperienced which makes them suited to the T20 format. As a result, the same batsmen who were struggling to pick the wrist spinners started to score off them freely when they went all out against them. In the process, the likes of Miller and Klaasen came into their own.
Unfortunately, when it was raining at the Wanderers, only the square was covered and the rest of the ground was exposed to rainfall. Consequently, when play resumed, the outfield was extremely wet. This led to two things: it made life difficult for the Indian spinners and fielding became a challenge as well.
Chahal and Yadav who had been India's trump card hitherto went for plenty in this match. They struggled to impart spin to the soggy ball. The ball was skidding off the surface and coming straight on to the bat. The wet outfield also caused a few misfields which cost India dearly.