India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019

Mayank Agarwal scored a brilliant maiden test double-century as India strengthened their hold on the Proteas at the end of Day 2 of the opening Test in Vizag on Thursday. Agarwal and Rohit Sharma put on 317 for the first wicket- the third highest ever for India in their history, and the hosts’ spinners reduced South Africa to 39/3 to leave the visitors with an uphill task to save the test. Continue reading “India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019”

Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam

Rohit Sharma scored a masterful 115 in his maiden test innings as opener as India dominated Day 1 of the first test at Visakhapatnam. The hosts were at a commanding 202/0 before rain forced early stumps in the eastern coastal city.

Here are our talking points from the day’s proceedings.

A dream start for Rohit Sharma as test opener

India’s decision to open with Sharma was a hugely debated one in the lead up to this series. Many fans felt that the Men in Blue would’ve been better off blooding a younger opener, especially in light of the tough tour of New Zealand early next year.

Sharma is known for his weakness against the moving ball in the longest format of the game, and hadn’t exactly helped his cause with a two ball duck in the warm up game against the Proteas.

Today, he survived a probing opening spell from Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, with the former in particular causing him all sorts of trouble. To his credit, Sharma survived, and then cashed in against the spinners. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had said that they were looking for a Sehwag-like impact from Sharma and the Mumbai Indians star certainly delivered on that front today, with 5 sixes and 12 fours in his unbeaten 115.

India's Playing XI vs South Africa-2019

This is the first double century stand against South Africa in over a decade- the last pair to do so were Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer back in 2008.

South Africa’s decision to play 3 spinners backfires

Somewhat surprisingly, South Africa opted to play three spinners and gave young Dolphin’s all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy his debut. India on the other hand, opted to go in with only two spinners- Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.

Proteas line up against India-2019

Between them, Muthusamy and Dane Piedt bowled only 12 of South Africa’s 59 overs and conceded 66 runs. They not only failed to pick up any wickets but were also unsuccessful in stemming the flow of runs. Keshav Maharaj toiled hard from one end, but didn’t get the support he needed from the other. Would the Proteas have been better served by taking a third pace option in the form of Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje? Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam”

Five Talking Points- India Women vs South Africa Women 4th T20 October 1 2019 Surat

A disappointing performance from South Africa’s Women saw them slump to a 51 run defeat in the fourth T20 international at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium. With the Proteas having also lost the first T20, this result sees India clinch the five game series 2-0.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Dropped catches galore from South Africa: The Proteas Women were their own worst enemies in the field. Lara Goodall, Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka dropped three skiers between them in the first four overs. Smriti Mandhana was given FOUR lives before eventually falling for 13.

Had the fielding been good, the visitors would’ve certainly have been chasing a more achievable total rather than the steep 141 they had to in the end.

Proteas Women vs India Women Fourth T-20 2019

Young Shafali Varma comes good: One of the recipients of the Proteas’ generosity on the field was teenager Shafali Verma. Out for a duck in the first T20, she could’ve again been dismissed cheaply had Goodall held on to an easy catch at mid wicket. Verma’s powerful 46 off 33, studded with five fours and two sixes, was a key reason for India getting a match winning score.

Proteas Women disappointing with the bat: Five of India’s six batsmen all struck at over a run a ball- none of the Proteas managed to do so. Tazmin Brits and Laura Wolvaardt were the only players to cross double digits, and the visitors were never really in the chase, only mustering a feeble 89/7 in response to India’s 140/4. A 51 run defeat, by T20 standards, is a massive one, and South Africa were thoroughly outplayed here. Continue reading “Five Talking Points- India Women vs South Africa Women 4th T20 October 1 2019 Surat”

India vs South Africa Third T-20 Match Report September 22 2019- Bengaluru

South African skipper Quinton de Kock led from the front with an unbeaten 79 as the Proteas comfortably defeated India by nine wickets in Bengaluru to level the series 1-1 on Sunday.

The home side went in with an unchanged line up, while the visitors included Beuran Hendricks in place of the injured Anrich Nortje.

Like he had in Mohali, Indian skipper Virat Kohli again won the toss, but this time surprised one and all by opting to bat first. The Chinnaswamy has a reputation of being a chasing ground and India’s win percentage in T20 internationals drops to below 50% while batting first (as opposed to a near 75% win percentage while chasing). Kohli said at the toss that it was an attempt to test his bowlers ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.

The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on a quickfire 22 run opening stand before Beuran Hendricks drew first blood, with Rohit caught at slip by Reeza Hendricks. The left armer pacer has a fine record against Rohit in T20’s- 3 dismissals in 4 deliveries across 3 innings Continue reading “India vs South Africa Third T-20 Match Report September 22 2019- Bengaluru”

Talking Points- India vs South Africa 2nd T20 September 18 2019 Mohali

India started their home season with a comfortable seven wicket win as they brushed aside South Africa by seven wickets in Mohali. Here are our talking points from the game.

Another Virat Kohli masterclass:The only player to average over 50 in all three formats of the game, Kohli produced another chasing masterclass as India went 1-0 up in the series. He ensured that the hosts always remained ahead of the asking rate, and his 52 ball 72 was studded with some fine shots- none better than the flicked six off Kagiso Rabada towards the end of the chase.

Virat Kohli Average over 50 + in all 3 formats

He also took a fine diving catch to dismiss his opposite number Quinton de Kock just as the latter was beginning to look dangerous. Kohli was off the field in the final stages of South Africa’s innings with an apparent back problem- the only way the Proteas might have made a match of it was if he didn’t recover in time to take the crease. But he did, and once he got into his stride, the outcome was inevitable.

Temba Bavuma’s T20 debut: South Africa handed a T20 debut to Temba Bavuma and the gritty batsman made a pretty decent fist of it- scoring 49 off 43. However numbers don’t quite tell the exact story- Bavuma was 42 (31) at the end of the 14th over, and his struggles at the death meant South Africa couldn’t quite tee off. They managed only 16 runs between overs 16-19, and only got to 149 thanks to two sixes in the last four balls from Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.

Bavuma is a decent batsman, but South Africa possess too many similar players – several who can strike at a little over a 100, but take their time to get in. If they don’t convert (like Kohli did today), it doesn’t exactly help the team’s cause. Someone like Shreyas Iyer, with his ability to strike from the word go, would walk into this Proteas T20 side comfortably. Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa 2nd T20 September 18 2019 Mohali”

Talking Points- India A vs South Africa A 1st Test in Thiruvananthapuram September 2019

South Africa A’s struggles on their tour of India continued as they were comfortably beaten by the hosts in the first test between the two sides in Thiruvananthapuram. A change in personnel from the ODI’s didn’t really help the Proteas’ cause as they were outplayed in all three facets of the game. We take a look at our talking points from the fixture.

Worrying times for Aiden Markram: Markram, the A side’s captain, and the likely partner for Dean Elgar when the official senior test series begins, made only 0 and 4 in this game. He struggled badly on South Africa’s last tour to Sri Lanka, and long-suffering Proteas fans will be hoping that this India tour doesn’t go the same way for him as it did for Stiaan van Zyl four years ago. Fortunately for Markram, he’s a more natural opener than Van Zyl, and there aren’t too many contenders knocking on the door in domestic cricket back home.

South Africa’s batsmen fail again: It wasn’t just Markram, but the likes of Pieter Malan, Khaya Zondo and co. also came a cropper. Across both innings, no Proteas batsman managed to make a single half century. The highest score came from the bat of Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen (48)- a man who has seen his international career stall over the last eighteen months or so. Batting has been a serious issue for the Proteas for the best part of this decade, and more so after the retirement of AB de Villiers. The Proteas batting was a key component of their unprecedented success between 2006 and 2014- there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the class of De Villiers, Kallis or Amla coming up the ranks.

No Anrich Nortje in the SA XI and Muthusamy underbowled: Anrich Nortje has a strong case to be in the Proteas test side next month, given that Vernon Philander doesn’t quite have the pace required for Indian conditions and Lungi Ngidi tends to struggle with heavy workloads. Nortje wasn’t even in the squad for this game, and all rounder Senuran Muthusamy, who has been talked of as a potential third spinner option for the test side, bowled just a handful of overs.

Jalaj Saxena makes his mark: Saxena stamped his authority on this game- his 61 in the first innings bailed India out after they were in a spot of bother at 199/7, and also took two wickets in the second innings.

South Africa (164 and 186) lost to India (303 and 49/3) by seven wickets.

India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?

India have today (September 12, 2019) officially announced their test squad for their upcoming home series against South Africa.

After a mediocre performance with the bat in the recently concluded series against the West Indies, Karnataka batsman KL Rahul has been axed, with the the selectors opting to bring in young Shubhman Gill into the squad. Gill captained India A in their recent test against South Africa A in Trivandrum, a game that was comfortably won by the home side. The India U19 star opened the batting in this fixture, and scored a masterful 90 in the first innings- the highest score by an individual player across both teams in this test.

As suggested by previous media reports, the selectors have also given Rohit Sharma another chance at resurrecting his test career- this time as an opener. The MI skipper is expected to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top Continue reading “India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?”

India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni

India have officially announced their squad for the three T20 internationals against South Africa next month at home.

The three fixtures will be played at Dharamshala, Mohali and Bengaluru on 15, 18 and 22 September respectively, following which the two sides will lock horns in a three-test series beginning October 2.

The Indian selectors have opted for continuity, opting to keep faith with the squad that did the job against the West Indies in the Caribbean. There is only one change- all rounder Hardik Pandya returns, with pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar making away for the MI star.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no place for either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal, with the selectors choosing to again back the trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar in the spin department.

Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to be sidelined from the squad, with the Men in Blue looking to give rookie keeper Rishabh Pant as many opportunities as possible behind the wickets ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

India T20 Squad vs South Africa 2019 Continue reading “India T20 Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Hardik Pandya back, but no MS Dhoni”

End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket

It’s officially the end of an era. With the retirements of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, all members of the South African side who scripted that famous series victory Down Under against Australia in 2008 have called it a day.

That Proteas team was also the first one since readmission to beat Australia in Australia, and they didn’t lose a single away test series between 2007 and 2015- quite an amazing statistic given the variety of conditions that prevail in test cricket today. Amla and Steyn were both key members of that squad as was AB de Villiers, who also hung up his international boots last year. Interestingly, the trio were the 295th, 296th and 297th players for South Africa and made their debuts in the same year- will the Proteas ever have a more impactful troika of players in the future? Continue reading “End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points from Australia vs South Africa & India vs Sri Lanka

The group stage of the World Cup came to a conclusion earlier today, with India taking on Sri Lanka at Headingley in the day fixture and Australia squaring off against South Africa in the D/N clash at Old Trafford. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the day’s action.

South Africa’s batting finally clicks, and sends Australia to Birmingham for their semi-finak

South Africa vs Australia as a World Cup clash brings back memories of that great game between the two sides back in the 1999 edition of the tournament.

The Proteas have been one of this tournament’s biggest disappointments, but with nothing to lose, they turned the tables on Australia at Old Trafford with a fantastic batting display. For the first time in this tournament, they got off to a flying start with the bat after winning the toss. With Hashim Amla out injured, Aiden Markram was asked to open the batting with Quinton de Kock, and the flurry of fours at the beginning of the South African innings forced opposition skipper Aaron Finch to turn to spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 6th over of the game.

Markram and De Kock both departed before the 20th over, but the foundation had been set, and it allowed Rassie van der Dussen, traditionally a bit of a slow starter, time to get himself in. He was 5 (25) before going on to smash 95 in 97. Faf du Plessis scored the Proteas’ first century of the tournament, and South Africa were able to set Australia an imposing 326 to win, which proved to be 10 too many for Justin Langer’s men at the end.

How South Africa would’ve loved the tournament to begin today instead of the 40 odd days before that it did!

And in sending Australia to Edgbaston, a ground known to favour England historically, they might have sounded the death knell for their great opponents’ hopes of defending their crown. Edgbaston was also the venue for that SA-Aus 1999 semi-final that began Australia’s dominance over the 50 over format.

CWC table after group stages of World Cup-2019

Rohit Sharma writes himself into the history books

With a hundred against Sri Lanka, Sharma not only took India to the top of the table, but also broke the record for most centuries in a single World Cup. In the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, Sharma has taken on added responsibility and handled it with aplomb.

He’s also not too far away from Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs (673) at a single World Cup. And the way he’s been going, few would bet against him achieving that record as well!

South Africa’s fielding sees them stave off a spirited Australian comeback

There were three great pieces of South African fielding today at Old Trafford- first the run out effected by De Kock to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (one which even MS Dhoni would’ve been proud of), the second a leaping catch, again by De Kock, to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, and the third a stunner from Chris Morris to take out David Warner just as Carey and he were beginning to take the game away from the Proteas.

They had a few lapses in the field- most notably in the form of missed run outs, but this was a far superior effort in terms of catching, and it helped them end their tournament on a high.

Alex Carey the unsung hero for Australia at CWC 2019

With a first class average of 29, few would’ve expected Alex Carey to have the impact he’s had on this tournament. The wicket keeper nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here, and may be promoted to No.5 in their semi-final against England, given the stunning form he’s been in.

A few alarm bells for Australia?

Australia still remain formidable opponents, as evinced by their never say die attitude during the chase that saw them score nearly 200 in their last 25 overs despite having effectively lost half their side.

However they appear to be in a bit of disarray- Shaun Marsh has already been sent home injured, Usman Khawaja’s tournament looks over after a hamstring issue, Marcus Stoinis had a side strain and even Mitch Starc needed the physio to attend to his knee. At this rate, Marsh Jr and Peter Handscomb may need to make their first appearance of the tournament in the cauldron of a World Cup a semi-final against the hosts at the “Bear Pit”

Not quite panic stations for Australia yet, but England will fancy their chances to advance to the final. Even Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said he expected the hosts to meet India in the decider at Lord’s in a week’s time, when quizzed about it by Mark Nicholas at the post-match presentation.

The semi-finals will be India vs New Zealand and England vs Australia- same as the first WC warm-up fixtures for these four sides played on May 25.