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Spinners shine as India beat South Africa by seven wickets

Game was practically over when Proteas innings imploded in just 27.1 overs

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 12.10.22, 03:17 AM
Man of the Match Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with Ishan Kishan after dismissing South Africa’s Bjorn Fortuin, one of his four wickets in the final ODI of the series in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Man of the Match Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with Ishan Kishan after dismissing South Africa’s Bjorn Fortuin, one of his four wickets in the final ODI of the series in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI picture

The start of the final ODI at the Kotla in New Delhi on Tuesday was delayed by 45 minutes due to a wet outfield. But India’s spinners ensured the game got over well before its scheduled close.

Kuldeep Yadav (4/18), Washington Sundar (2/15) and Shahbaz Ahmed (2/32) shared eight wickets among themselves as India, opting to bowl after winning the toss, bundled South Africa out for 99. Thereafter, the batters took just 19.1 overs to overhaul the visitors’ paltry total, as India won the contest by seven wickets and clinched the series 2-1.


The game was practically over when the Proteas innings imploded in just 27.1 overs. South Africa’s weaknesses against spin aside, the effort put in by India’s bowlers has been pivotal to their series win. This wasn’t India’s first-choice attack in the format. But barring the series opener in Lucknow, the bowlers’ impressive showing in the second ODI has also had a crucial role in India’s come-from-behind triumph.

As for the decider, the Kotla pitch did have something in it for the bowlers, and the Indian spinners ensured they got their lines and lengths right. Quinton de Kock, the first South African wicket to fall, threw it away off an innocuous delivery from off-spinner Sundar, who opened the bowling. But the rest of the South African batters looked clueless before spin.

Even Bengal spinner all-rounder Shahbaz was able to do better than how he did on his debut last Sunday. He first dismissed Aiden Markram with one that turned just a bit and then cleaned up a well-set Heinrich Klaasen (34) by altering the length a little.

Sundar, too, had picked up his second by foxing stand-in captain David Miller, who was South Africa’s third captain in the series as Keshav Maharaj (who led in the previous ODI) got indisposed like their regular skipper Temba Bavuma.

The scenario then was ideal for the much-improved Kuldeep to run through South Africa’s lower order. The consistent Mohammed Siraj also played an important role early on, striking twice with the short ball to peg the Proteas back.

With the bat, Shubman Gill was the top scorer with 49 off 57 balls.

Siraj’s crucial role

Mohammed Siraj’s performance was equally significant alongside that of Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan and the spinners behind India’s ODI series victory over South Africa.

Finishing with five wickets in the series, the 28-year-old Hyderabad quick bowled some spells in this series, which were crucial to India’s comeback after losing the opening game. His show also gave the team the upper hand, particularly in the decider in New Delhi on Tuesday.

For sure, Siraj is well on his way to carving out a place for himself in India’s limited-overs scheme of things, especially in the 50-over format. “As a fast bowler, you need that fire and passion inside you,” Siraj, adjudged Man of the Series, stressed at the post-match presentation after the decider.

“Also, I try to figure out the right lengths at the start of the innings and knew I had to take responsibility. Performing against a good team gives you a lot of confidence.”

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