By Abhijit Banare
Dec 8, 2013
South Africa openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla shined yet again slamming tons and helping South Africa post a challenging total of 280 for six in 49 overs. It was de Kock’s second ton in as many matches and 12th overall in the format for Amla. South Africa would have hoped for a much better total considering the strong start but the Indian bowlers especially Mohammed Shami managed to pull things back towards the end.
The match was delayed due to wet outfield and was shortened to 49-overs a side. Under overcast conditions it was expected to be a bowling paradise, but openers Amla and de Kock defied the initial pressure and breezed through yet again. The 194-run opening stand set up South Africa’s total but the middle-order failed to capitalise post the batting powerplay.
MS Dhoni had reshuffled the pack and fielded a new set of pace attack hoping things will fall in place. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav came in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma. Ajinkya Rahane found his way in the playing XI as Yuvraj Singh was unfit.
Initially, it seemed as though the pacers will keep the openers in check. Swing and bounce was very much on offer and Dhoni had no hesitation in bringing Ishant upfront. The slow outfield too didn’t help the openers as the well-timed shots didn’t fetch enough value.
The pressure gradually eased up and a confident de Kock led the way by pulling and driving the ball at ease, keeping up to a healthy run-rate, thereby not allowing the pacers to take control of the proceedings. Dhoni on his part was proactive to observe the comfort level of the openers and brought on the spinners soon after the first powerplay. At the same time, the worries of death overs bowling options were evident when he banked on Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli to complete the quota early along with Ravichandran Ashwin whereas Ravindra Jadeja was held back till the 25th over. The ball was gripping the surface and offered a bit of turn as well for the spinners.
However, none of it affected the openers. De Kock completed his half century in quick time and Amla followed soon completing his 24th fifty. The ever-reliable Amla also brought up his 4,000 runs in ODIs in just 84 matches. The duo also surpassed the record opening stand at Durban going past 170 run-stand set by Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.
In the meanwhile, de Kock continued scoring at a brisk pace and was inching closer to his second ton in as many matches. He got to his landmark with a single nudged delicately towards square-leg off the first ball of batting powerplay in the 34th over. This is de Kock’s third hundred in a span of few weeks with the first one coming against Pakistan.
He was finally dismissed by Ashwin for 106 trying to shuffle across and loft over square-leg. In the next over, Jadeja managed to strike another blow removing AB de Villiers stumped for just three runs.
On the other end Amla continued his solid run. India’s closest chance to send back Amla came in the 27th over when Jadeja coming round the wicket pitched an inch outside the leg stump and got the ball to turn away from Amla which struck his back pad in front of the wicket. Umpire Shaun George though got his call spot on turning the appeal down.
Since de Villiers’s departure, the South Africans failed to hit boundaries at will but managed to accumulate runs with ones and twos. However, the bowlers had plugged the leak of runs unlike the first ODI. Amla managed to complete his ton in 116 balls but was soon dismissed by Shami. The pacer bowled a slower bouncer and Amla was foxed by it edging straight to Dhoni. Shami struck again removing the explosive David Miller for a third-ball duck.
Since de Kock’s dismissal South Africa hardly managed to up the ante and kept losing at regular intervals. After Miller, JP Duminy was run-out for 25. Shami was yet again impressive. After the twin strike, removing Amla and Miller, he sent back Jacques Kallis who had dropped down the order. The hosts managed to strike some good blows in the last over hitting 20 runs.
The Proteas have managed to post less than what they were expected to after the fine start, yet it is a good total and will take some efforts to overhaul. It will be interesting to see how the Indian batsmen take on the pace battery of the opposition.
South Africa 280 for 6 in 49 overs (Quinton de Kock 106, Hashim Amla 100; Mohammed Shami 3 for 48) vs India.
South Africa vs India — Live on Ten Cricket
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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