The One day International (ODI) series between India and South Africa is currently leveled at 2-2 and the fifth and final match, which will take place this Sunday at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, is widely expected to be a close encounter between two top teams. Both the teams have given each other a tough fight and after Virat Kohli’s heroics in the fourth ODI, the fans are eagerly waiting for an intriguing end to a record-breaking series.
South Africa had a 2-1 lead when they arrived at Chennai to play the fourth one-day international. Batting first, India came into the match with an all or nothing attitude as a loss would have meant the end of their hopes in the series. Despite putting on an impressive show, India had lost the fourth one-day international. As a result, they had to come up with something extraordinary to defeat AB de Villiers and his men.
Virat Kohli was the star of the Indian innings as the dynamic batsman came up with an excellent hundred to mark his 23rd ODI hundred in 165 games for the Men in Blue. India posted a formidable 299 in their limited fifty overs on a tough spinning pitch.
In response to India’s target, South Africa struggled early on against India’s spinning trio of Axar Patel, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh as the Protease lost four of their first five wickets against Indian spinners.
Eventually, South Africa fell 35 runs short of the target as they were restricted to a meagre 264 for nine despite a century by captain AB de Villiers
India now comes into the Fifth match with an upper hand on the back of an emphatic win as they look forward towards winning the decisive ODI series. The Wankhede pitch is expected to be spin friendly, and Dhoni would be willing to use it full extent after an impressive performance by the Indian spin brigade.
After an impressive win, India is expected to come up with an unchanged squad. However, one can expect Dhoni to come up another of his surprise inclusions. For South Africa, this series has been a struggle, and none of their batsmen apart from the magnificent AB has performed up to their potential. Performances from Hashim Amla and de Kock could be crucial for this finale.
India came back very powerfully in the in the series after winning the 4th ODI match and undoubtedly, the 5th ODI match is going to turn out to be a thrilling encounter. Most predictors favor India 55-45 marginally for a win over South Africa. In order turn these predictions true, it would be crucial for at least one of Dhawan, Rohit and Virat to play a long innings.
India: MS Dhoni (c), S Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, V Kohli, B Kumar, A Mishra, AR Patel, SK Raina, AT Rayudu, MM Sharma, RG Sharma
South Africa: AB de Villiers (c), HM Amla, F Behardien, Q de Kock, F du Plessis, Imran Tahir, DA Miller, M Morkel, CH Morris, K Rabada, DW Steyn, K Zondo
Prediction: The match will be a close encounter and given that the match is played at Wankhede Stadium, the team chasing would have an edge.