India have easily won the first ODI against South Africa in the ongoing series, but the rivalry between the two teams has been extremely exciting. Since both of them have had legendary players — for every Virat Kohli, there is an AB de Villiers. For every Sachin Tendulkar, there is a Jacques Kallis. Over the years, this rivalry has thrown at us many interesting matches and we hope that we see some in the ongoing series as well.
After setting a target of 191, India had to bowl out of their skins to defend it. There was absolutely no contribution from the lower order and the men in blue were bundled out for 190 after being 169-4 at one point. They made up for it by bowling well as a unit, with Munaf Patel being the man of the match for his 4 wicket haul.
The next match too was a thriller, but it has to be said that despite winning these two-nailbiters, India lost the series 3-2. But this match was a treat with Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan (two tail-enders) forming a crucial 26 run partnership, for the 8th wicket. India were set a target of 221, and they were reeling at 182-7, when the partnership happened. After that, Harbhajan saw things off in style along with Ashish Nehra.
Except for Mohammad Azharuddin’s 90 and Pravin Amre’s 48 (and Sachin Tendulkar’s 15), no batsman was able to cross double figures. Still, India were able to post a face savng target of 195 in a crucial Hero Cup semi-final. South Africa, being the chokers they are, couldn’t reach the total and managed just 193. For India, all the bowlers were economical including part-timers like Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja.
Held in Jaipur, this is a match that gives us goosebumps even now. India were cruising to victory and had South Africa flat on the mat after setting a total of 298. The visitors were reeling at 225 for 8, with no batsman remaining. You can say that India got a little complacent, Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell didn’t give up and their 65 run partnership almost clinched a superb heist for them. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Finally, a nailbiter that was won by South Africa. We know that they aren’t so good under pressure. But in this instance, they proved their naysayers wrong. It was AB de Villiers’ unbeaten knock of 104 that won the game for the visitors at Kanpur. For India, Rohit Sharma scored a fighting 150 but didn’t get support from anyone else barring Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni. In the end, the total proved just out of reach.