India beat South Africa, win series 2-1

Wednesday 12th October 2022 07:00 EDT

The Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi barely had half its capacity crowd for the deciding ODI between India and South Africa on Tuesday. There were fears of a shortened game, following the incessant rain on the previous four days. One did get a shortened game but it had nothing to do with the weather. South Africa’s inadequacies against spin on a damp pitch resulted in the tourists folding for 99 in 27.1 overs after India captain Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and elected to field.

The series was widely perceived as a ‘second-string’ Indian team, resembling the composition of an Ind ‘A’ team, taking on a full-strength South African team. When Shreyas Iyer hit Marco Jansen for a six over long off to win the series 2-1, after Shubman Gill fell for a 57-ball 49, with seven wickets and 30.5 overs to spare, India’s ominous depth in resources came to the fore. If anything, the veteran Dhawan would have liked to get more runs than his scores of 4, 13 and 8 in the series.

While this has been a graduation process for most players playing in the series, there are players who are fighting to reclaim their spots in India’s first choice XI. For Kuldeep Yadav, who was a first-choice spinner three years ago, every opportunity is like a shot at redemption. Similarly, Washington Sundar, forever battling freak injuries, sent out a reminder why he has been one of the most consistent spinners with the new ball with his spell of 2/15 in four overs.

This is South Africa’s first team and it was obvious they must have switched their focus to the T20 World Cup in Australia. After all, they play their first warm up game in a week’s time. It was more about preserving their players for the mega event. The lack of intent was glaring through their innings. Regular captain Temba Bavuma, Keshav Maharaj (unwell) and pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada all sat out as a precautionary measure.

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