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IND vs SA, 1st ODI Talking Points: India's Struggle With Middle-Order Woes, Lacklustre Bowling Continues

India's middle-order failed miserably in the first ODI against South Africa. (AFP Image)

India's middle-order failed miserably in the first ODI against South Africa. (AFP Image)

Chasing the target, India were cruising at 138 for one before wickets fell in a heap dashing the hopes of the visitors and their innings ended at 265 for eight.

India suffered their third back-to-back defeat on the ongoing South Africa tour as the hosts once again got the better of Men in Blue by beating them by 31 runs in the first ODI at Boland Park. KL Rahu and Co. were completely outclassed by the South African team in all three departments. The loss exposed several faults in India’s limited-overs team. Elected to bat first South Africa posted 296/4 on the scoreboard courtesy of Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma’s sublime centuries. Chasing the target, India were cruising at 138 for one before wickets fell in a heap dashing the hopes of the visitors and their innings ended at 265 for eight.

Here are the talking points from the first ODI between India and South Africa

India’s Middle-Order Woes Continues

In the past few years, middle-order batting has been the biggest misery in India’s limited-overs set-up. The Men in Blue heavily relied on their top-order to win games for them with the bat. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli are the only batters who have scored consistently for India but apart from them, India looked unsettle in the batting department. With a jam-packed top-order, India have been unable to fix their no.4 woes. On Wednesday, Rishabh Pant was promoted to bat at number 4 ahead of Shreyas Iyer but none of the batters stood up with the bat when their team need them the most. From 138/1 to 214/8, South Africa easily managed to trigger the collapse in the Indian middle order.

India vs South Africa: Full Coverage | Photos | Schedule | Results

Lacklustre Bowling From India

Only Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin were the bowlers from India to pick the wicket in the 1st ODI. Jasprit Bumrah was the standout performer with the ball as he snared two wickets and with an economy under 5. Senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has lost his place in the Test team, failed to create any impact with the ball in the first ODI of the series. While Shardul Thakur was the most expensive with the ball as he leaked 72 runs from his quota of 10 overs. Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been the go to bowler for India in the middle-overs, remained wicketless as Van der Dussen put pressure on him throughout the innings with sweep shots. vd Dussen forced him to not bowl his usual googly delivery. Meanwhile, despite getting a crucial wicket of Quinton de Kock, Ashwin failed to impress with the ball in his comeback game in the 50-overs format.

No Bowling For Venkatesh Iyer

India picked Venkatesh Iyer over Suryakumar Yadav in the playing XI but he didn’t bowl a single over despite an underwhelming show from other bowlers. Ahead of the first ODI, Rahul indicated in the press conference that Iyer will be India’s sixth bowling option but that was not the case on Wednesday. The KKR player is considered as an alternative to Hardik Pandya but India have still not used him much as the sixth bowling option. In the four matches he has played for India so far, he bowled only in one match.

Also Read | IND vs SA, 1st ODI: Clinical South Africa Beat Rusty India by 31 Runs

Centurions Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma

The South African duo put up a show with the bat on Wednesday with sublime centuries on a tricky surface. Van der Dussen and Bavuma shared the second-highest partnership ever against India in ODIs to ensure a competitive total for the home team. Bavuma played the anchor role throughout the innings and scored his 2nd ODI century. He was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate over on 110 off 143 balls. He came out to bat in a tricky situation but played a gritty knock against a quality bowling attack. While Van der Dussen was more of an aggressor in the partnership as he registered his highest score in ODIs – 129*. He faced 96 balls in which he smashed 9 fours and 4 sixes.

Virat Kohli’s Century Drought Continues

The 33-year-old played as a non-captain in international cricket after about 7 years and was looking in decent touch. However, he once again failed to convert his half-century in a three-figure score. There was a time, Kohli was hailed by everyone for his exemplary conversion but in the past couple of years, it has dipped drastically. Kohli last score his international century in 2019. He scored 51 runs on Wednesday and was looking in full control before a sweep shot off Tabraiz Shami, a stroke he doesn’t play regularly, led to his downfall leaving him in disbelief.

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first published:January 20, 2022, 07:00 IST