3rd ODI: South Africa Vs India At Cape Town: Another Cliffhanger

Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan

It was almost as if somebody hit the action reply button, the situation being so similar to the previous ODI only the order was reversed.

In the 2nd ODI it was South Africa that was doing the chasing of a small yet disturbing total and this time it was India who had to chase down 220 with South Africa winning the toss and electing to bat first.

The Indian bowlers were looking extremely effective, Zaheer Khan looked most piercing where Graeme Smith barely attempted to touch the ball on his bowling but ultimately falling prey to Harbhajan Singh who bowled brilliantly restricting key batsmen and getting Smith before he made his half century with the stunning one handed catch by Virat Kohli. Skipper Graeme Smith made a useful contribution of 43 runs of  79 balls.

The first wicket to fall was that of Hashim Amla who since the absence of Jacques Kallis seems to look very vulnerable. He made just 16 runs of 18 balls and was dismissed by Zaheer Khan.

Colin Ingram made 10 runs of 16 balls and frankly didn’t stand a chance getting away from Virat Kohli who took yet another fabulous catch on the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.

AB de Villiers made 16 runs of 20 balls was dismissed by Yusuf Pathan with the help of Zaheer Khan who took the best catch of the day in the deep.

JP Duminy along with Faf du Plessis who was incidentally on debut made a match winning 100 or so partnership, Duminy making 52 runs of 59 balls and Plessis making 60 runs of 78 balls, he couldn’t have asked for a better debut total, of course a victory would have been the cherry on top but he must know you can’t have the cake and eat it too. Duminy was dismissed by unplayable Zaheer Khan and Plessis was dismissed by Munaf Patel.

JP Duminy could have been run out when he was on 5 but Yusuf Pathan missed that opportunity and it could have ended up being extremely costly.

As usual the long tail of South Africa couldn’t do much as they have shown on countless occasions with their chocking in the previous match. Botha made 9 runs of 14 balls was dismissed by Zaheer Khan. Wayne Parnell was run out by Munaf Patel and Dhoni, he made 5 runs of 3 balls. Dale Steyn’s wicket was claimed by Munaf Patel, he too made 5 runs of 8 deliveries and finally Lonwabo Tsotsobe was run out by Yusuf Pathan on a duck and thereby closing the South African total with 4 balls to spare. Morne Morkel was not out on zero and faced no deliveries.

As the 2nd ODI total showed, there are no big or small totals only big or small chokers. India’s job was to manage 1 or 2 big partnerships and they could have a comfortable win. But that was of course only just a dream. Opener Murli Vijay has done nothing till now besides take up a very coveted seat. It will be interesting to see till what level the selectors influence will help him continue in the team, he made 1run of 8 balls and was dismissed by Dale Steyn.

Rohit Sharma as usual looks out of sorts, maybe for the time being he should stick to T20 but with Sachin Tendulkar’s departure due to his hamstring injury Rohit Sharma was promoted up the order. He made 23 runs of 45 balls and was clean bowled by Morne Morkel.

Virat Kohli had a brilliant day in terms of his fielding taking 3 fantastic catches one better than the other, but didn’t manage to stick around long enough to make a solid partnership with Rohit Sharma, he made 28 runs of 41 balls and was dismissed by Morne Morkel.

Yuvraj Singh came out looking confident as usual but the confidence was short lived as he may have played the main pace attack with caution but was dismissed by JP Duminy when he was just on 16 of 27 balls.

Skipper MS Dhoni seems to be qualified only to be a skipper no longer a batsman as yet again he got out cheaply on making 5 runs of 12 balls by Johan Botha. It seems like the only place we will see the much advertised “Helicopter” shot of his will be in the ad itself.

Where half the people would have given up; Sachin Tendulkar’s substitute proved to be the silver lining in the dark clouds. Yusuf Pathan’s mere presence suggests destruction, sometimes his game works and sometimes it fails miserably, everyone will be hoping it works every time specially with the world cup around the corner. He whacked the ball everywhere hitting three 6’s and five 4’s, he made 59 runs of 50 balls but his departure gave South Africa a ray of hope with the tail Enders exposed to them. Pathan’s wicket was taken by Steyn and caught by Morne Morkel in the deep as being 6’5″ he was the only one who could have attempted catching that one as he did. Suresh Raina also helped Pathan on the other end, but somewhere in the middle it looked like he wanted to be in on some of the action and attempting to do so it cost him his wicket, he made an important 37 runs of 47 balls and was dismissed by Morne Morkel.

Everyone’s eyes were now on Harbhajan Singh, tension was growing and flashbacks of the 2nd ODI were running through minds all over the world.

Would India’s tail choke just as the South African’s had? The answer proved to be “no”. Bhajji played with ease along side Zaheer Khan at a point where 40 runs were yet to be made for victory.

The drama was reinforced with the exit of Zaheer Khan whose dismissal was disappointing selfish and unnecessary simply because he had just hit a 4 on the previous ball so there was no need to go in for the kill that fast. He made 14 runs of 25 balls his wicket claimed by Tsotsobe, he again gave South Africa a view of the finish line. Ashish Nehra entered the fray and was constantly being given pep talks by Bhajji. Bhajji mean while was hitting wicket taking bowlers like Morne Morkel for a 6, it was clear from his attitude that he was not going to throttle the victory for India. He also hit Wayne Parnell for a 6 bringing down the run rate considerably and ultimately leading India to a 2 wicket win and a lead in the 5 match series against South Africa.

The Man of the match was given to Yusuf Pathan for his brilliant life saving knock.

Another thrilling match, it just keeps getting better and better. What next?

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Nandita Shamlal


Hey! I’m Nandita Shamlal in my final year at Amity School of Communication (Amity University) doing Journalism and Mass Communication. I have always loved sports even though I couldn’t play a single one without causing injury to myself (and others). I enjoy watching cricket the most but also enjoy tennis and basketball. Writing is something I’ve always felt was an outlet to every thought that crosses your mind. I enjoy reading, watching the television and of course, writing. Besides writing my greatest passion is playing the piano. Hope you enjoy what I write!


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