It was a historic day in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday (13th Feb) as Virat Kohli-led India displayed excellent cricket & secured their 1st bilateral series win in South Africa. After failing in a chain of matches, Rohit Sharma smashed his 17th ton to help India set a daunting target for the home team, which was made even more daunting when the spin duo – Chahal and Kuldeep – were sent to bowl. As India won the match by 73 runs, we shift out focus to the final and 6th ODI of the series, and take a look at 5 key players.
The two teams will now travel to Centurion, Supersport Park to play the final one-dayer of this tour before beginning the 3 match T20 series in Johannesburg.
Here we look at 5 players who will be key in the 6th ODI in Centurion:
After missing out in the 5th ODI having made a very steady start to his innings, Virat Kohli will be looking to end the series on a high. With over 429 runs to his name already in the series, the Indian captain has been one the major reasons why India has dominated the series from the 1st match itself. He has been brilliant over the past 18 months or so and is arguably the batsman with unmatched cricket skills, in the world right now.
AB de Villiers
Many felt that South African fortunes were going to change once De Villiers arrived in the team. However, the RCB batsman has yet to hit his stride in this series. He was dismissed cheaply in the 5th one-dayer, but the Indian team knows that till he is there at the crease, South Africa will always have a chance to win a match. The 33-year-old can single-handedly destroy bowling attacks and will be a huge threat again as he looks to give his side a winning finish in the 6th ODI to end a disappointing cricket series.
After a series of disappointing innings against the Indians, Amla finally came into form as he displayed a strong hearted cricket, and played a brilliant 71 run knock at Port Elizabeth. However, his innings wasn’t enough to take South Africa over the line. The opener will be looking to get another big knock under his belt in the 6th ODI, to raise his confidence higher before the all-important Australian series. He will be missing out on the T20 series with India, hence he will be looking forward to finish the series with a winning contribution.
With just 26 runs in the series and 3 wickets, it would be fair to say that the mercurial Hardik Pandya has failed to live up to the expectations the fans had with him prior to the tour. Since his brilliant innings in the 1st test match, Pandya has failed to justify the hype around him but in the last match, we saw the 24-year-old returning to some sort of form with the ball as he dismissed both Duminy and De Villiers in quick succession. If he can continue this excellent cricket performance with the ball in the 6th ODI and contribute something substantial with the bat, he will successfully manage to turn the detractors into admirers.
With 2 four-wicket hauls in the series already, Kuldeep Yadav has been the most lethal bowler in this series. He broke the record for most wickets by an overseas spinner in a bilateral ODI series in South Africa in the 5th ODI after picking up his 16th wicket of the series. Except for the 4th ODI, the 23-year-old has bowled with maturity, something surprising for such a young wrist spinner. He is someone who is confident about his cricket abilities and isn’t shy to invite the batsman to go after him, and is expected to do something similar in the 6th ODI.