A young South Africa punished a jaded Indian team for its outdated approach, handing it one of the most comprehensive series defeats in recent times with an easy seven-wicket victory in the second ODI on Friday.
A target of 288 was below-par on a flat track and the seasoned Quinton de Kock (78 off 66 balls) in the company of rising sensation Janneman Malan (91 off 108 balls) added 132 for a match-deciding opening stand.
The home team eventually reached the target in 48.1 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game series.
KL Rahul's captaincy ambitions and head coach Rahul Dravid's wish to see him being anointed in the long run, however, suffered a rude jolt following back-to-back defeats in 50-over games on a track, which was more Indian than South African in nature.
India's archaic approach, a very '90s safety first mind-set, hurt the team as has been the case for a while now in the white-ball format.
A tour that started with a great Test win at the Centurion is now in tatters and the Indian contingent would be looking to board the charter flight back home on Monday after the inconsequential third ODI at the Newlands, which would be a spicier track compared to the one at Boland Park.
The batting, save Rishabh Pant's cavalier style, was too defensive starting with skipper Rahul, whose 55 off 79 balls was an innings of bygone era, which cannot align with the fearless cricket that teams want to associate with now.
The match slipped away from India's grip during their innings once Pant was gone as the others simply failed to get going when the ball didn't come on to the bat and it was not a track that offered firm and even bounce.
It's not a new malaise to plague Indian cricket but what should be worrying is that nothing has been done to address the issues.
A veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8-0-67-0) was swept as well as pulled for sixes by de Kock while Malan would come down the track to hit him through the covers signalling that his early 130 kmph speed, with lack of variations, was simply not working.
For Shardul Thakur (40 not out and 5.1-0-36-0), the quality batting show won't save him if he doesn't curtail the number of bad balls that he is bowling per spell.
And Ravichandran Ashwin (10-1-68-0)'s second coming in white ball cricket might end in a whimper even before it gathers enough wind to sail through.
Yuzvendra Chahal (10-0-47-1) tried his best but his confidence, after being unceremoniously dumped from the T20 World up final squad, has been in tatters.
Venkatesh Iyer (22 off 33 balls and 5-0-28-0) is still a work in progress and his fast-tracking in the limited overs set-up is less of pragmatism and more desperation to find a fresh version of injury-plagued Hardik Pandya.
South Africa was atrocious on the field missing four catches and an easy run-out but it hardly paid for the mistakes.
India ended up with a score that was at least 20 runs less than what could have been considered challenging. For that, Pant needed to make a deserving maiden ODI hundred, which didn't happen.
Brief scores: India 287/6 in 50 overs (Rishabh Pant 85, K L Rahul 55; Tabraiz Shamsi 2/57). South Africa 288/3 in overs (Janneman Malan 91, Quinton de Kock 78; Jasprit Bumrah 1/37).
Latest on Sportstar
- WTC Final 2023, India vs Australia: All You Need To Know, Playing Conditions, squad, live streaming info
- NBA Finals 2023 - Game 1 analysis: Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets turn up the ‘Heat’!
- Spanish Grand Prix, Formula 1 Live updates: Verstappen to start from pole; Streaming details in India
- WTC Final: Rahane stands at crossroads in his comeback Test
- French Open pair Kato, Sutjiadi disqualified after ballgirl hit