The covers came on at the JSCA Stadium on Saturday afternoon, some time after South Africa finished its training session. The drizzle thankfully didn’t last long.
Though some dark clouds lingered on for a while, the day became bright and sunny later on. Both India and South Africa must be hoping the weather stays like that on Sunday as well.
After the rains claimed 20 overs from the first One-Day International at Lucknow on Thursday, the two teams must be wanting to play a full match. The forecast doesn’t rule out rain completely, though, but things do not look as bleak as they did on the eve of the first of the three-game series.
The weather wasn’t the only thing that may have worried the Indian team management at Lucknow. True, India lost only by nine runs, but if it wasn’t for that superb knock by Sanju Samson, the margin would have been much bigger.
Granted, it is not the first-choice Indian team that is playing the series and it is up against a strong South African side. Still one could certainly count on Shikhar Dhawan’s men to bounce back in the second ODI. Should they need inspiration to come back from a tough situation, they could think of the city’s most famous son, former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had figured in the last ODI played on this ground.
India will need to come up with better efforts in all the three departments of the game against a Proteas team for which the series is more important than it is for its rival. The South Africans have to collect Super League points, required for qualifying for the next World Cup.
Despite the worryingly poor form of captain Temba Bavuma, the South African batting is in good shape, with Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen all putting runs on the board at Lucknow.
As for bowling, the excellent pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Wayne Parnell were backed well by Keshav Maharaj’s left-arm spin.
Dhawan and the others will have to apply themselves better against this quality attack. It will be interesting to see if the in-form batter Rajat Patidar gets his India cap.
The bowling received a setback with seamer Deepak Chahar ruled out of the series with a stiff back and has been replaced by Washington Sundar. Shardul Thakur, who performed creditably with both bat and bowl in the first ODI, may not mind more support from his colleagues -- bowlers and fielders.
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