South Africa captain Temba Bavuma spoke recently in an article on online betting website Betway and describes how growing up with other team members has assisted his transition to the captaincy role.
“I was fortunate in that most of the guys, especially the senior guys, I’ve played with from school level,” he says. “We understand each other and, most importantly, the respect is there.
“I spend a lot of time with KG [Rabada] on and off the field. Shamo [Tabraiz Shamsi] and Quinton [de Kock], too. These are important players to have good relationships with as a captain.
“We’re fortunate that we have several legends of the past who I can call upon, too. JP Duminy was in the T20 management camp and he added to the brains of the team. He has a great brain and I bounced ideas off him.”
Managing slow conditions key
India will now have the advantage of knowing the conditions quite well with the 2nd ODI to be held at the Boland Park in Paarl itself.
India thought they had a hang of the conditions in the series opener but it were the conditions which ultimately decided the result. The pitch was slow and the odd ball was gripping, making both spinners and change of pace variations from pacers difficult to face.
South Africa did a great job of bowling their fastest bowler in Marco Jansen and spinner Aiden Markram first up so that they could stack most of the overs of their medium pace bowlers through the middle overs which made life extremely difficult for the Indian batters.
While Markram and Jansen were in operation, runs were easy to come by and Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan milked the South African bowling line up beautifully. However, once the two were dismissed, one wicket kept falling after another which led to a collapse.
Despite an earnest half century from Shardul Thakur - his maiden ODI fifty - India fell 31 runs short of the target.
India lose momentum on crucial junctures
South Africa perhaps had an advantage at the toss as well in the first ODI as they got to bat first. It was not the toss though which decided the result of the match.
The two points where South Africa succeeded and India's momentum was stalled was first towards the end of the South African batting innings when the team conceded 25-30 runs extra than they should have, especially when they had South Africa on the ropes at 68/3 within the first 20 overs.
The next phase which clinched the match in South Africa's favour was the collapse of the Indian middle order. The likes of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer do not have a lot of experience of international cricket and with the departure of MS Dhoni, there is certainly a void in the middle order which India should look to take care of
When Rohit Sharma returns, KL Rahul is likely to return to the middle order, but for now, Pant and the two Iyers need to step up and show a lot more maturity.
South Africa's near-perfect performance
South Africa will be overjoyed with what they were able to achieve with the bat on the back of centuries from Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen and with the ball on the back of some brilliant bowling from Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi.
India too are unlikely to make any changes after just one match but they'll have to be a bit tighter and not let the opposition back into the game once they are on top
It will be interesting to see how the match shapes up if KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan bat together for a bit longer and make life easier for the middle order who can then just put the foot on the accelerator post the 35-over mark
In some ways, both India and South Africa had a lot to take out of the first match. That these games are not part of the ODI World Cup Super League, both teams will look to improve upon their learnings from the first match.
Predicted playing XIs
South Africa - Quinton de Kock (wk), Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
India - KL Rahul (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal