In Stats: Captain Kohli Eyeing First ODI Ton on South African Soil
The top spot in the ICC ODI rankings will be up for grabs when the six-match one-day series between South Africa and India begins at the Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday, 1 February 2018.
South Africa currently occupy the top spot in the 12-team table, while India, with one point less than the hosts, are placed second.
This series offers the host an opportunity to consolidate their position at the top of the table, while Virat Kohli’s team have an opportunity to displace the Proteas from the top of the table if they go on to win the series.
South Africa have generally had the wood on India; in all the ODIs played between the two teams, South Africa have a 45-29 win-loss record. In the context of bilateral series ODIs against India at home, South Africa have a formidable 14-4 win-loss record.
South Africa’s recent form at home is even more intimidating; the Proteas haven’t lost an ODI at home since 9 February 2016 and haven’t lost an ODI series at home since December 2013.
South Africa will be without the services of AB de Villiers, who injured his finger in the Test match at Johannesburg. While the absence of a player of the calibre of de Villiers will certainly be a big blow, South Africa, in recent times, have coped with the absence of their best batsman well. In the last two years, South Africa have emerged victorious in each of the six ODIs they’ve played sans de Villiers.
The numbers are staggering and the scales are tilted towards the home team. But the Indian team must be high on confidence after their hard-fought win in the final Test match in Johannesburg.
An already upbeat Indian team has further been boosted by the arrival of the white ball specialists. MS Dhoni will be a vital cog in the middle order, while the Indian team will rely a lot on the wrist spin of Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav to provide consistent breakthroughs in the middle overs.
It is likely India will field a tried-and-tested XI in the first ODI in Durban. The selection calls facing the Indian team management are:
• Who should be picked to bat at number four?
• Whether to pick a second all-rounder or a sixth specialist batsman?
No matter who is picked to play, the Indian players need to raise their game several notches – most definitely in comparison to their mediocre records in ODIs against South Africa.
Of course, several of the Indian batsmen haven’t played too many ODIs in the Rainbow Nation; but in the few outings they’ve had, their numbers make for a dismal reading.
Virat Kohli is the top-ranked batsman in the ICC ODI rankings for batsman, but even his batting statistics in South Africa pale in comparison to what he has achieved in other parts of the world. In fact, South Africa is the only country in which he has played where Kohli has not scored a century; given the form he currently is in, one imagines he will be able to set right his batting record and complete the set in the next few days.
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