New Delhi: Roll your memory back to January 17 when Team India, touted to break the South Africa jinx, lost the first two Test matches in the series against Faf du Plessis’ men. Virat Kohli was amid criticisms for his team selections, while the batsmen were condemned for their dismal performance in the two matches despite the bowler’s effort in revival. Three weeks later, India have the Johannesburg Test to their name and have also earned victories in the first two ODI matches of the six-game series to reclaim the number one ranking in the ODI format. And now, going into the third match, the Men in Blue are on the brink of history on South Africa’s favourite ground.
On the back of an inspiring third Test win on a “challenging” Johannesburg track, India stunned the hosts by six wickets to break their Durban jinx and then at SuperSport Park, Kohli’s army chased down an embarrassing target of 118 runs amid a bizarre lunch break call by the umpires to win the Centurion ODI by nine wickets. Ergo, India are 2-0 up in the series and have temporarily dethroned South Africa from their numero uno spot in the ICC rankings to claim the title on minor decimal units.
On Wednesday afternoon at Cape Town, India are up against South Africa for the third ODI of the series and the visitors are standing on a brink of history. Like the Test format, India have never won an ODI series in the Rainbow nation.
The visitors have played four series against the Proteas in South Africa and the tourists failed to lift the trophy each time. Even a draw couldn’t be pulled off by the visitors on any of the occasions. Thus, if India can win the Cape Town match, then Kohli-led India will be the first Indian squad in South Africa to draw an ODI series. Also, it will be the first instance where India have won three successive ODIs against South Africa in a series. But there is a bump in the road.
Newlands is South African team’s favourite home ground. The hosts have won 28 out of the 33 matches played at the venue which makes their win percentage as 85.