South Africa looked completely different side in the fourth ODI as they defeated India to keep themselves alive in the ODI series. Now, with the return of AB de Villiers, the South African team looks more rejuvenated than ever.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that the return of De Villiers had a direct impact on the side which won the rain-hit fourth ODI on Saturday. “The return of AB de Villiers was also a positive psychological advantage for the Proteas. He may not have got many runs on the board on his immediate return but it was a huge plus to their middle order. The South Africans also probably did the right thing by leaving the spinner out and playing an all-pace attack,” wrote Ganguly in his column for Times of India.
The Proteas chased down a Duckworth-Lewis revised target of 202 in 25.3 overs. However, De Villiers didn't fire as everyone had expected. But his presence surely made a difference.
“South Africa managed to pull one back to continue their 100 percent record in pink clothing. There will always be that question whether Saturday’s curtailed game made life easier for them. Well, it just might have."
“More than the number of overs, however, it is the rain that probably made it difficult for the Indians, especially the spinners, to bowl. Not that the spinners have turned the ball enormously in the previous three games of the series. Rather, it was a question of very poor batting by the South African batsmen which resulted in 21 wickets for the spinners. On Saturday, the moisture in the surface due to the rain actually allowed the ball to skid on to the bat and that helped the South African batsmen,” added Ganguly.
According to Ganguly, India should not worry about the last defeat. They are still just one match away from winning the series. The fifth ODI is on Tuesday in Port Elizabeth, where rain is again in the forecast.
“Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have continued their dominance with the bat and are really playing very well. The good thing when they bat is that the run-rate remains healthy. If either of them - more so Kohli - are dismissed early, then the others will have to take the innings forward. This didn't happen in the last 15 overs at the Wanderers,” he wrote.
“The Indian spinners may have had an off day but the shot selections of Miller, Klaasen, Markram, and Phehlukwayo will keep them interested for the remainder of the series. Port Elizabeth is not known for being a high scoring ground, and it will be a very important game for South Africa.”