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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

India Vs SA ODI Series - Wishing an Indian win at Durban

After the tight Test Series and a win in the solitary T20, the focus shifts to the ODI series, which in some ways is a precursor to the WC.
Even before the toss,  there is another casualty – Praveenkumar joining the list and flying back home.  Ishant is back as his replacement.  Sehwag and Gambhir are not there and this should provide an ideal opportunity for Murali Vijay to cement his place in the squad and a rarer opportunity to open with the legendary Sachin.  Piyush Chawla would be on the comeback prowl.
The match is at Kingsmead stadium, Durban, a busy  port and  the largest city in the SA province of Kwazulu Natal.  It has Indian connection as well.  Upon returning from England with degree in law, Gandhi could not flourish in legal practice in Mumbai, Rajkot and Gujarat and received an offer from Dada Abdulla Seth & Co and travelled to South Africa in April 1893.  In May 1893  he reached Durban.  In the  Durban Court, he was instructed by European magistrate to remove his turban.  The incident that played a major role in carving the history took place during his journey from Durban to Pretoria.

The kingsmead ground is closer to the ocean and has been a Test ground for ages.  Read that in 1939 England and South Africa played a timeless test, which also ended in a draw as Englishmen choose to catch a boat back home.  Indians were skittled out for just 66 in 1996 but came back strongly this year to win a Test.  We played Kenya in the WC Semis in 2003 in this ground.
Over the years, India has grown in stature in One dayers and our record is of the 759 played – 371 won – 351 lost – 3 Tied and 34 no results.  Against South Africa at SA, it is abysmal.  In 20 matches played, we have won only 3 and have lost 16.

We have played 7 in 1992; 5 in 1997; 4 in 2001 and 5 in 2006.  Our victories came at Centurion in 11th Dec 1992; East London on 19th Dec 1992 and Centurion in 10th Oct 2001.  In 2001, Ganguly’s Indians managed 233 (Dravid topscorer with 54) and could contain SA to 192 with Bhaji taking 3/27 and winning MOM.   At East London, SA set a target of 204 and Indians were 80/4 and 130/5. Praveen Amre with an unbeaten 84 with support from Vijay Yadav (do you remember this wicket keeper ?) – 34 not out.

The day night match at Centurion on 11th Dec 92 (our first win at SA) is worth savouring.  SA scored 214/5 in the allotted 50.  Against a strong attack consisting of fiery Alan Donald, Fanie Deveiilers, CR Matthews, Brian Mcmillan and Callaghan, the lanky Indian opener WV Raman scored 114 and took us to the threshold of victory.  He left at 194 at close to 47th over and Indians could complete a glorious victory in SA soil.  

Hopefully, the smart Dhoni should rewrite the history this time winning more matches in this 5 match series which are to be played on
Jan 12  First ODI        Durban          
Jan 15  Second ODI   Johannesburg
Jan 18  Third ODI      Cape Town    
Jan 21  Fourth ODI    Port Elizabeth           
Jan 23  Fifth ODI        Centurion      

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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