South Africa v India Sixth ODI: Tourists reliable even in dead rubber

Amla's record at Centurion is brilliant
Amla's record at Centurion is brilliant
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It's the final clash in Centurion on Friday and though the series has been won by the tourists Ed Hawkins doesn't expect India to slack off

"The lights are a more legitimate concern. Of the last 13 under lights, eight have been won by the team batting first"

South Africa v India
Friday 16 February 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

South Africa

South Africa's series reverse is only the third time they have lost a five-game rubber or more contest at home. Their batting and bowling averages for the series are also the worst for any home series.

It is perhaps not surprising. Injuries to Faf Du Plessis, the captain, Quinton De Kock, the tempo-setter, and AB De Villiers, their best batsman, have hurt them. There is no team in the world which could cope with such a player drain. De Villiers has played in the last two matches but he has looked far from his reliable self.

With the series gone, don't be surprised if Kagiso Rabada is given a rest. He is well overdue one and he must surely be in the 'red zone' in terms of picking up an injury. The form of Lungi Ngidi, the pacer who took four wickets in Port Elizabeth last time, has at least been one positive.

At St George's Park, Ngidi was single-handedly responsible for halting India's charge to 300 and more. His late burst stemmed the flow and gave South Africa a squeak at the break. But their batting, Hashim Amla aside, flopped again despite being in relative comfort at 166 for four. They lost the last six wickets for 31.

India

Another record. This was India's first series win in South Africa in any format. It is also a major pointer for India's World Cup aspirations. If they can win there, they can win anywhere.

Spin has been their most potent weapon. Yuz Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have proved they don't need a turning wicket to be dangerous. Often the technical faults in the opposition is enough. Between them they took six wickets in Port Elizabeth.

There was also good news for Rohit Sharma fans. He notched a century to prove that India are not over-reliant on Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. It was Rohit's turn after Kohli had reached three figures in games one and three and Dhawan in the fourth.

Had Rohit failed his place could have been in jeopardy. It remains to be seen whether India rest players to give fringe squad members a go.

First-innings runs

The last 14 first-innings scores (most recent first with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) at SuperSport Park read: 118-2/384-1/294-2/318-2/304-1/361-1/179-2/191-2/250-1/250-2/331-/1/200-2/257-2/200-2. That gives us an average of 256.

Match odds

South Africa are [2.06] and India are [1.85]. In the context of the series and the match, those odds seem strange. India should be shorter than that.

Over five matches the tourists have proved they are a cut above. And it was at SuperSport Park where they really put their foot on the throat of the hosts. They bowled them out for just 118.

It could be the market is skittish because this is a dead rubber and they don't have faith India will be 'all out' in terms of effort and personnel. But in India's last seven dead rubbers with the series won, they've have only slipped up twice.

The lights are a more legitimate concern. Of the last 13 under lights, eight have been won by the team batting first. If you can get [1.75] with the toss in their favour then, India are a fair wager.

Top South Africa bat

As we have said before this series, Amla has an extraordinary record at the ground. He has 869 runs in 13 innings, including five centuries and one 50. In this series he suffered a rare failure, particularly when set at 23. He has warmed-up with a half-century in PE so the [4.3] about honours looks a decent price.

Top India bat

Kohli is mighty short at [2.96] it would appear, fine player though he is. With Rohit finding his feet finally the [4.1] could prove popular. Dhawan is [4.3].


Ed Hawkins P-L

2018: +10.52
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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