India clinch SA series 2-1 and share the record of most wins with Australia

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India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates the dismissal of South Africa's Bjorn Fortuin during the 3rd ODI match between India and South Africa, at Arun Jaitley Stadium, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

Our Bureau
Mumbai

With a seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the third ODI played here on Tuesday, India have matched Australia for the most wins in a calendar year in international cricket. India handed South Africa a crushing defeat in the series decider of the three-match ODI series to take the series 2-1 after Kuldeep Yadav’s impressive four-wicket haul. Australia earlier held the record for the most wins in a calendar year.

With 38 wins from 47 matches the Australian team was at the top and is now joined by India with 38 wins from 55 matches. The Aussie team had a stellar year in 2003 when they registered these figures.

The Indian team has had an excellent year so far, registering wins against most opponents. India started the year with a home series against West Indies, where they whitewashed the visitors 3-0 in both ODIs and T20Is.

The team then toured England to play the one left-off test which ended in a draw, while snatching ODI and T20I victories with a similar margin of 2-1.

Ireland was next conquered by the team as India eased past the challenge to win the series 2-0. West Indies was the next assignment for India as the team reached the Caribbean shores to play a T20 and an ODI series. India won the T20 series 3-0 and sealed the ODI series 4-1.

India then moved on to Zimbabwe and whitewashed the hosts 3-0 in an ODI series.

The team did play some good cricket in the Asia Cup 2022 but failed to cross the Super 4 hurdle and could not earn a spot in the final, which was won by Sri Lanka.

Australia then toured India in the build-up to the T20 World Cup as both teams looked to prepare for the marquee tournament. India came back down from a loss to secure the T20 series 2-1.

India then outplayed the Proteas in the ODI and T20 series to level Australia’s record.

Side let itself down: SA head coach Boucher

Following his side’s seven-wicket loss to India in the third and final ODI, South African head coach Mark Boucher said that there were some moments in the ODI series where his side let itself down and was pressurised in the match after some soft dismissals.

A four-wicket haul from spinner Kuldeep Yadav and vital contributions from other Indian bowlers powered India to defeat South Africa by seven wickets in the third and final ODI of the series here on Tuesday. “It took us time to get used to conditions. In ODIs especially, there were some moments where we let ourselves down. Today, there were some soft dismissals that put us under pressure. India bowled really well with intent and aggression. We take from here some good lessons and some good chats behind the closed doors,” said Boucher in a post-match press conference.

The head coach said that it will be important to keep players physically and mentally fresh leading up to the T20 World Cup since it has had a tough schedule as of late, coming to India after a tour to England and some of its players playing in Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Australia will suit our pace attack. We have a good pace attack. The way Anrich Nortje bowled today was a positive for us,” he added.

The head coach said that regular captain Temba Bavuma and stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj not being well resulted in three different skippers in the series. David Miller was the captain for the final ODI after Keshav (2nd ODI) and Temba (1st ODI).

Boucher said that the form of skipper Bavuma is not a matter of big concern and hopes for a turnaround.

He further said that there has been some inconsistency in their ODI side due to IPL and COVID-19 and it will have to win their next year’s ODI fixtures against England and Netherlands in order to boost their ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points and gain automatic qualification to the 2023 50-over WC.

South Africa is not among the top eight teams in the league that will earn an automatic qualification to the marquee cricketing event in 2023.

India has won the series 2-1 against South Africa.

South Africa were bowled out for a paltry 99 in 27.1 overs. Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the bowlers as he scalped four wickets for 18 runs. He was ably assisted by Washington Sundar (2/15) and Mohammad Siraj (2/17). Shahbaz Ahmed also took two wickets and gave away 32 runs.

Pacer Mohammad Siraj was given the ‘Man of the Series’ award for his consistent performance in the series. He took five wickets in three matches at an average of 20.80 and an economy rate of 4.52. His best bowling figures in the series were 3/38.

2nd ODI: Iyer’s ton helps hosts level series

Shreyas Iyer’s unbeaten ton and Ishan Kishan’s 93-run knock helped India beat South Africa by 7 wickets here at the JSCA International Stadium to level the three-match ODI series 1-1.

Chasing a tricky 279-run target India did not get the ideal start losing their skipper Shikhar Dhawan for 13 as the hosts lost their first wicket for 28. Left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell cleaned him up. Opener Shubman Gill looked in good touch hitting boundaries but he too was dismissed for 28 off 26 by Kagiso Rabada caught and bowled.

At 48/2 India needed a partnership and Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan did just that. Team India crossed the 50-run mark in 9.1 overs.

The Iyer-Kishan duo batted sensibly to strike a 50-run partnership off 70 balls and in the process crossed the triple-figure mark in 20.3 overs.

Southpaw Ishan Kishan also went on to score his half-century off 60 balls. Iyer was the quicker off the two notching up his half-century off just 48 balls. South African pacers had no answer to their partnership as these two put on 100 runs partnership for the third wicket.

Iyer-Kishan helped India reach the 150-run mark in 27 overs. Wicket-keeper batter Ishan Kishan started batting aggressively and along with Iyer took the partnership beyond the 150-run mark.

South African bowlers looked helpless as India crossed the 200-run mark in 33.3 overs. The 161-run partnership was finally broken when Bjorn Fortuin dismissed Ishan Kishan for 93 falling just seven runs short of his maiden ODI ton.

Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the bowlers as he took three wickets for 38 runs.

Shamsi a world-class bowler: Maharaj

South African spinner Keshav Maharaj on Saturday defended teammate Tabraiz Shamsi over his performance in the 1st ODI against India and called his teammate a world-class bowler who will bounce back strongly.

The bowler who was instrumental in the team’s win over India in the 1st ODI at Lucknow said Shamsi would perform well as he did in England where he picked up a five-wicket haul against England. “He is a world-class bowler. I don’t think his confidence is dented. He has done well for us and it’s only a matter of time before he repeats his performance like in England and picks a fifer,” said Maharaj.

He also said that the bowling figures of Shamsi do not truly reflect the performance of the bowler as he did well to hold his nerve in the back end to make sure the Indian team does not clinch a win.

“I don’t think he had a bad day, the bowling figures are not really reflective of it. The Indian batters had to take someone on and unfortunately, it was him. I thought he held his nerve really nicely in the back end and picked up a crucial wicket at the time to give us an opening. We know what he is capable of and it is not a concern for us,” said the South African.

The South African also complimented the Indian spinners on the skills they possess. He said that he is still learning the trade of tricks of spin bowling and he looks to Indian spinners for inspiration.

“I am still learning when it comes to spin bowling and taking a leaf out of most Indian spinner’s books,” claimed Maharaj.

1st ODI: Hosts lose by 9 runs

India lost to South Africa by 9 runs in a 40-over rain-truncated match played here at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. With this defeat, Shikhar Dhawan led India now trailing the Proteas 0-1 in the three-match ODI series.

Chasing a massive 250-run target in 40 overs Team India got off to the worst possible start as opener Shubman Gill was cleaned up by pacer Kagiso Rabada for 3. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan was sent packing by Wayne Parnell for 4 as India lost their second wicket for 8. The Protea bowlers bowled a tight line and did not allow Indian batters to score runs freely as the hosts could only score 18 runs in eight overs of powerplay.

Spinners came into the attack with Tabraiz Shamsi giving India the third blow by dismissing debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad 19 stumped by keeper Quinton de Kock. The hosts scratched their way to the 50-run mark in the 18th over.

Ishan Kishan was also sent packing by Keshav Maharaj to leave his side tottering at 51/4.

With India losing wickets and the required rate consistently going higher they desperately needed a partnership and Shreyas Iyer along with Sanju Samson did just that. The Iyer-Samson duo hit boundaries to strike a 50-run partnership and take the team’s total beyond the 100-run mark in 22.3 overs.

India’s fielding was pretty average as they dropped important catches: first Mohammad Siraj dropped Miller and then in the next ball Klaasen was dropped by debutant Bishnoi of consecutive deliveries of Avesh Khan’s bowling. The Miller-Klaasen pair went past the triple-figure mark in just 84 balls and took the team’s total to 249/4 in 40 overs.

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