Fresh from springing a major surprise in the Test series, South Africa did it once again in the opening match of the ODI series as well, slaying India by 31 runs.
The victory was the doing of two men – captain Temba Bavuma and rising stud Rassie van der Dussen – who both scored centuries but in different styles.
After the Proteas batted first, Bavuma (110) played the anchorman and facilitator as Dussen (129*) played more freely. Their 204-run partnership for the fourth wicket swelled up the score from 68-3 to 272-4.
They eventually finished with 296 – a target not necessarily massive in front of India but fortunately for the hosts, their pacers ran through the Indian middle-order after the top order was taken care of by the spinners.
The Proteas will now smell blood. Another win will give them the ODI series as well, which when coupled with the Test triumph will be a massive boost for their confidence.
On the flip side, the Indian camp must be worried and their think tank wondering what has happened to a unit as powerful as theirs.
Apart from Jasprit Bumrah, none of their bowlers were a factor in the series opener and were dealt comfortably by Dussen in particular.
On the batting front, they were still on track at 138-1 in the 26th over but all hell broke loose once Shikhar Dhawan (79) and Virat Kohli’s (51) 92-run was over.
Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, and Venkatesh Iyer all fell to African pace as the visitors went 1-0 down and face a fight to keep the series alive.
India were second best but they are unlikely to make too many chances if any. Perhaps, a tweak here and there would be made. One of those changes could be to put Venkatesh’s bowling talents to use.