The KL Rahul led Indian Team have had a disappointing start to the One Day International series, after they lost the first match by 31 runs. South Africa Captain Temba Bavuma (110) and Rassie van der Dussen (129) with their centuries and collective economical performances from the bowlers provided the win for the Proteas.
The first ODI match will be remembered for so many reasons. This was KL Rahul's 1st match as List A captain after Virat stepped down as the one-day captain. Secondly, the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin & Yuzvendra Chahal played for the first time together in a one-day match. Ashwin was included in the one-day squad for the first time since 2017. Also, the last time Virat was neither a captain/vice-captain of the ODI team was vs Sri Lanka at Hobart in 2012 when he smashed a 133*(86).
After the first win against India, hosts South Africa are now leading the 3-match-one-day series by 1-0 and keeping in mind that to stay in this series India have to win the next one-day match. Let’s discuss the positives that Team India can take from this game and the negatives which they have to work on as a whole team.
Virat Kohli in-form: Virat Kohli struck a 51 in his first match, which is a good sign for team India from a batting perspective. He had a partnership of 92 runs with Shikhar Dhawan. South Africa is the side against which Virat Kohli has performed well in the past. Virat Kohli’s run aggregate is at an average of 186, including three centuries and a fifty in 6 innings against South Africa in South Africa. This is the most by a batsman against any opponent in a bilateral series. Taking these numbers into consideration we expect something good in the coming 2 one-day matches from Virat as he is now free from the responsibility of captaincy, so can totally focus on his batting.
Trustworthy Shikhar Dhawan: It is said that whether it's a role as a standby captain or as a standby opener, Shikhar will always deliver! He has proved to be one of the most trustworthy players for Team India, who gives his all whenever given the responsibility. Dhawan is a player who always finds a way to make his team survive against any opponent. He played an innings like Gabbar in the 1st ODI against South Africa scoring 79 runs with an SR of 94.05. The confidence and assurity was on show in the way Dhawan batted as an opener against the Proteas. Shikhar Dhawan, every time with his performances shows why team India persists with him.
Jasprit Bumrah's adaptability to all formats: Jasprit Bumrah is deputy to captain KL Rahul presently. He is a bowler par excellence. With his incredible bowling performances, he has made legends of the game his fans. In the first ODI against South Africa he turned out to be the most economical and successful bowler picking up 2 wickets in his spell with an economy of 4.80. His ability to bowl yorkers any time in all formats also makes him a stand out. Recently, South African legend Allan Donald hailed Bumrah for the kind of bowling he is capable of producing in all three formats of the game.
Middle-Order Collapse: India's unexplainable middle-order collapse will be the biggest concern for the team in the coming 2 ODI matches. The fall of wickets in the middle order results in a lack of a much-needed partnership, which is ever so important while chasing a target close to 300 runs. With the poor middle-order performance, the 92-run partnership between Kohli-Dhawan did not count for much. KL Rahul being the captain will have to motivate himself along with his team to perform as per what is required to win these matches.
Expecting a lot from Venky Iyer: Venkatesh Iyer indeed gave a great all-around performance in the last IPL. But while playing his debut ODI match and that too in a country like South Africa, putting him at number six cannot be considered the right move for the team. Expecting a Hardik Pandya kind of performance from him in his first match is expecting a lot from the young lad.
Flop show from the Spin Department: The spin department used experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, the duo who were playing for the first time together in a one-day match but didn’t perform to the best of their ability. Ashwin did take the important wicket of Quinton de Cock but failed to make an impact like what he is known for. At the same time, Chahal's bowling didn’t feel as sharp as it normally is. Both of them ended their spells, conceding 53 runs.
All in all, team India has to do a lot in each department to give a full-fledged showing to keep this series on track. It's now a do-or-die situation for India in the next two matches. The second ODI is scheduled to be played at the same venue tomorrow (January 21st) at Boland Park in Paarl. KL Rahul has to play his game in form, boost team morale and make some good decisions on the field to make a turnaround. It’s also a chance for the likes of Rishabh pant, Shreyas Iyer in the batting department to show their worth and gives Venky Iyer a chance to play as an all-rounder.