Talking Points: India vs South Africa 3rd ODI

Published 10/18/2015, 1:07 PM EDT

South Africa are conquering over hosts India in their own den. In the third game of the five-match ODI series, South Africa beat India by 18 runs, snatching victory away from India’s hands. In what appeared to be an exceptional comeback after a great start by South Africa in the first innings, the Indian side wasn’t quite sure as to when to accelerate the innings.

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South Africa were cruising after opting to bat first, thanks to a valiant knock by opener Quinton de Kock, Indian spinners brought the team back into the game by keeping things very tight for the Proteas batsmen and scalping wickets at regular intervals. India restricted South Africa to 270 runs, what looked to be a comfortable 300-310 plus target initially. While chasing, Rohit Sharma shined yet again with a beautiful half century, but the duo of Kohli and Dhoni, although well-set, made a mess of the chase. EssentiallySports brings to you the talking points from the third encounter:

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De Kock scored a hard-fought 103 off 118 balls. (Image Courtesy: Cricket Now)

It can be established now that the South African opener loves to play against India. With 4 out of 7 centuries in ODIs coming against India, Quinton de Kock finally scored a big knock after getting good starts in the first two matches as well. But it wasn’t an easy innings for him. In the hot conditions of Rajkot, De Cock found it hard to keep his energy going and while partnering with Faf du Plessis to take control of the innings, he even found it difficult to run between the wickets. But the young lad showed great character and ensured that he reached his century, even though he was too tired to celebrate it.

De Kock’s knock provided great stability to the SA innings on end and made sure that the scoreboard kept ticking even though wickets kept tumbling at the other end. The young man’s knock is his personal best among the four centuries against India.

Mishra gave the Proteas a hard time with his tight bowling. (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

Dhoni finally included Mishra in the playing XI and his decision was backed well by the bowler himself. Amit Mishra bowled brilliant deliveries, giving South African batsmen no room at all to free their arms. Leaking just 39 runs in his quota of 10 overs, he also took the important wicket of Hashim Amla. The bowling figures don’t reflect the pressure he put on the Proteas batsmen, but his performance in this match should ensure a confirmed berth in the next two ODIs also.

Indian bowlers showed massive improvement in their death bowling. (Image Courtesy: Cricbuzz)

After being criticized for so long for lacking teeth during the death overs, Indian fast bowlers showed massive improvement in this ODI. Hitting the block hole consistently, mixing up their pace and bowling as per field placements- Indian bowlers did their basics right and it did reflect on the scoreboard too. In the final 10 overs of the South African innings, India conceded just 60 runs! This will surely make MS Dhoni a happier captain and increase the confidence of the Indian fast bowlers.

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Kohli and Dhoni failed to take India home with a victory.

What looked to be an easy chase for India turned out to be a Proteas party! After the platform was set by Rohit Sharma’s 65 for the hosts to take a lead in the series (2-1), Dhoni and Kohli had started building a healthy partnership. But even after registering a 70-odd run partnership, the duo was unable to accelerate the innings and the run rate climbed dramatically, from six to ten runs per over, in a matter of a few overs. Both of them were then dismissed by Morne Morkel in consecutive overs, and one has to blame the duo to have made an easy chase too tough for the team.

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Morkel struck with three quick wickets to drop curtains on India’s chance of winning. (Image Courtesy: Cricbuzz)

After Dhoni and Kohli had built a solid partnership, South Africa seemed to have lost control over the match and needed to break the partnership desperately. The captain turned to Morne Morkel and he made his captain and team very proud. Morkel struck straight away and dismissed a well-set Dhoni who was looking to take off with his massive strokes. In his next over, Morkel got rid of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in consecutive deliveries to seal the game for the visitors. Morkel ended with figures 10-1-39-4 and rightly so, was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match to help South Africa take a 2-1 lead in the series.

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Piyush Blaggan

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