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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SA ODIs - India go ahead in the series

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 18: Yusuf Pa...Yusuf in full flow
Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina are suspect against short-pitched bowling. They are playing the ODI series against South Africa, who have the deadliest opening bowling attack in the World, on their backyard. They are easy meat!!

At 93-5 last evening, this must have been the thought that entered Greame Smith's mind. The duo survived and how! A 75-run partnership at better than run-a-ball, taking the target required down to 53. True, luck was with them and there were some catches dropped by the Proteas but the youngsters rode their luck and turned the tide.

This win will give the Indians, especially Pathan and Raina, a world of confidence. This victory, coming as it did, against the mighty bowling attack on a pitch that played few tricks must give the Indian team a huge boost going into the World Cup. They exactly did the opposite of what the South Africans did during the second ODI - keep their cool. Harbhajan and Zaheer and later Nehra gritted it out, huffed, puffed, missed and eventually scored runs in every way they could. Dhoni must have been really happy that without his contribution, the team could get past the winning score.

The South Africans showed many weakness areas in this ODI again - the ability to keep their cool seems to have gone out of the nature of the South African cricketers. The absence of Kallis shows the true nature of the team and their dependency. Once Amla and Smith get out, they are vulnerable. This loss will truly hurt their psyche more than anything - how they recover from these two losses remains to be seen. They lost two consecutive matches at home back in 2006 against the Aussies though they won the series. The last series they lost was in 2009 against England (2 matches were abandoned). Will the Indians be lucky this series?    
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