Why India will vanquish South Africa 4-2 in the ODI series
As the Indian team shed off their white flannels and put on the blues, they look a completely different side. Stepping into more familiar territory, Virat and co played some dominating cricket in the opening ODI. India did not even break a sweat while chasing the 270-run target set by South Africa which brought an end to the 17-match victory streak of the Proteas at home.
Discounting one standout South African effort - either batting or bowling - and one Indian batting collapse, it would be quite safe to predict the final scoreline of a 4-2 Indian victory. Here are 5 reasons why the Indian team will win the 6-match ODI series 4-2.
#1 The chase masters: Kohli and Dhoni
Either of Kohli or Dhoni is good enough to give any world class bowling line-up a run for their money when it comes to chasing the most difficult of totals. India are blessed to have both of them playing in their XI.
The latest example of Kohli's chasing brilliance saw him make a mockery out of the 270-run target. India won the match by 6 wickets with 27 balls to spare. Although Kohli is known for his consistency, if he fails in one or two matches, we have Mahi to steady the ship.
#2 Spin twins
The South African batsmen struggled against Chahal and Kuldeep in the 1st ODI. There is a feeling that the spin twins will continue to prove an enigma for the batsmen throughout the limited overs leg.
Both Indian spinners not only bowl economically but pick up crucial wickets as well. In Durban, the duo shared 5 wickets between them while giving away just 79 runs. They offer India with control in the middle overs and choke the run flow.
#3 Indian batsmen play Tahir well
Imran Tahir is a potent weapon for South Africa who has proven his worth time and again for his Captain. However, for some reason, his magic has not worked against the Indian batsmen. Traditionally known to play spin well, Indians have scored freely against the leg spinner and have not conceded too many wickets against him.
As opposed to the overall bowling average of close to 25, the leggie's average goes up by almost 20 units against India. Same is the case with the economy rate. The Pakistan born spinner has an economy of 5.47 against India as compared to his career economy of 4.65. We saw in Kingsmead also that Tahir went wicketless after bowling his full quota of 10 overs.
#4 Flatter pitches in ODIs
The new crop of Indian batsmen is a unique breed. They are not troubled by pace at all. You bowl toward them at 150 kmph and they will hit back at you even quicker. But when the ball starts to swing and seam, even a 130 kmph bowler can give them nightmares- like Vernon Philander did in the Test series.
The innocuous pitches that will be on offer in the ODI series by and large will even out this difference between both teams. Players like Dhawan and Rohit who struggled against the red ball will give the South African bowlers a tough time in this series.
#5 Du Plessis & de Villiers injured
Recently, news broke out that Faf du Plessis was ruled of the ODI and T20I series due to his fractured finger. Faf was injured in an unsuccessful attempt to catch Virat Kohli in the slips. The absence of the 1st ODI's centurion has created a huge void in the South African batting line-up.
Earlier, ABD was also ruled out of the first 3 matches of the ODI series due to a similar finger injury. Faf and de Villiers are the backbone of the Proteas batting. Mr. 360 will be back in the 4th ODI but by then India will have momentum on its side. The hosts have put their money on young Aiden Markram - who is just two ODIs old - to captain for the remaining series.