JOHANNESBURG - Having been bamboozled by Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the first half of the ODI series with India, it’s understandable that South Africa’s players will start to feel better about themselves following Saturday night's win as they seek to come back in the series.
Man of the Match Heinrich Klaasen said it would provide a massive boost to the home team’s confidence for the remaining two matches in the series that they were able to dominate Chahal and Yadav at the Wanderers.
Before the fourth ODI those two wrist spinners had accounted for 21 of the 28 South African wickets which fell in the first half of the series. On Saturday they again looked like they’d made some decisive breakthroughs - dismissing Hashim Amla and JP Duminy after South Africa’s target had been reset following the second rain delay. However, after David Miller was given two lives - dropped when he had six and bowled off a no ball by Chahal when he had seven - the momentum of the match changed, and the spinners were put under severe pressure.
“The problem at the beginning of the series was we didn’t pick (the left-arm wrist spinner’s - Yadav’s - googly). The leggie (Chahal) no-one seemed to have problems picking him, although he did pick up a lot of wickets,” said Klaasen.
India’s spinners conceded 119 runs in 11.3 overs, with Chahal throwing in another no-ball and bowling three wides.
“They are young guys, they’ve played very well for us. Anyone can have a sh*t day ... but these two spinners have won three games for us,” said India’s opener Shikhar Dhawan. He correctly pointed out that the lengthy rain delay wet the outfield and that made gripping the ball difficult for the spinners, a key factor in their poor performance.
While the South Africans will claim that the momentum is now with them heading to St George’s Park, Dhawan’s chirpy demeanour on Saturday indicated India weren’t going to get too downcast about the defeat.
“Sometimes luck favours the opposition, it favoured Miller this time and he took it with both hands. Sometimes you go through failures so that you can learn. But it’s just one loss man, we’ve already won three games, one more game and we’re through,” added Dhawan.
After winning the first three ODIs of the series against South Africa comprehensively, India’s loss in the fourth came as something of a shock, especially considering after 31 overs in the first innings they were superbly placed at 176/1, with both of Virat Kohli and Dhawan seemingly nearing centuries.
But first with the ball, and then with the bat, South Africa recovered excellently to register their first in of the series, and losing captain Kohli was quick to pay them full tribute. "You have to give credit to South Africa,” he said.
“I think they played with a lot of character and in the end, they pulled through, they deserved to win. They are a quality side, we expected them to play quality cricket and they played well tonight."