South Africa has its foot on India’s throat and, given the emotion rushing through the veins of everyday South Africans at the moment as they mourn Nelson Mandela, one can see the Proteas smashing the Indians for the third game in a row.
Bookmakers are of the opinion that no top-tier cricket team can ever be a huge underdog in a One Day International and, while one can see the logic in that viewpoint, this India side touring South Africa may be the exception to the rule.
There is seldom a good time for an India team to tour South Africa because the Indians are unaccustomed to playing on the type of pitches that they encounter in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other South African cities. They are the complete opposite of Indian pitches, with the speed and bounce posing different challenges to the slow and low pitches on which Indian batsmen and bowlers grow up.
And this is definitely not a good time. India travelled to South Africa having slugged out a seven-match home One Day International series against Australia and the Indians have walked into a charged atmosphere following the death of Mandela at the age of 95 after a prolonged illness.
South Africa walloped India by 141 runs in the First One Day International, Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla putting on 152 runs for the home side’s first wicket and the former going on to make 135 runs. India’s top order flopped and South Africa, for which Ryan McLaren and Dale Steyn took three wickets apiece, bowled out its guest for 217 runs.
De Kock and Amla performed even better in the Second One Day International, both scoring centuries and ticking over the scoreboard to 194 runs before De Kock was caught by Rohit Sharma off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin. South Africa wobbled to 280 runs for six wickets off its allotted 49 overs but the Proteas recovered to reduced India to 34 runs for four wickets inside nine overs and eventually dismissed the away team for a pathetic 146 runs off 35.1 overs.
South Africa is riding the wave of Mandela-inspired emotion that is sweeping the Rainbow Nation, whereas India’s spirit is broken and it is trying to get its house in order before the two-game Test series gets under way next week. Good luck with that, India, because you are really going to need it.
Paddy Power are offering odds of 1.62 that South Africa beats India in the Third One Day International, which will take place at SuperSport Park in Centurion, where the Proteas cruised to a four-wicket win over Pakistan last month. South Africa won more emphatically than its four-wicket margin suggests, bowling out Pakistan for 179 runs in 46.5 overs and reaching its target with 68 balls remaining having batted sensibly within itself.
De Kock and Amla have the wood on India’s bowlers so, once again, the pick of the match exotics is a dutched bet on either of South Africa’s openers ending up as the top Proteas batsman. De Kock is available at odds of 4.50 with Stan James, while Amla is the 4.00 favourite with BetVictor. A dutched bet on 4.50 and 4.00 chances equates to a combined dividend of 2.11 and the recommended play has hit the jackpot in the first two games of the three-match One Day International series between South Africa and India.
Another Third One Day International exotic worth considering is a punt on the highest scoring over reaping under 16 and a half runs at odds of 1.83 with Stan James. SuperSport Park is not known for being a high-scoring One Day International venue, with fewer sixes being hit there than at most grounds that stage such games. None of the last three One Day International matches in Centurion have featured an over with more than 16 and a half runs. That statistic reads two out of the last seven One Day International games or three out of the last 16 One Day International matches depending upon how far back one wants to go. Stan James should have set the line at 15 and a half runs based on recent data.