India are set to begin their fifth bilateral series in South Africa from today in Durban, having played the previous four in 1992-93, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2013-14. Apart from these, India have played the hosts in two triangular series – in 1996-97 (also involving Zimbabwe) and 2001-02 (also involving Kenya). Historically, South Africa has proved to be a difficult place for Indian ODI sides.
In the 28 ODIs that India have played against South Africa in South Africa, they have won five and lost 21. They are yet to win a series in the Rainbow Nation; their best result being a 3-2 defeat in 2010-11. The upcoming six-match series presents a good opportunity for the Indians to buck the trend. As the opening match gets underway, here is a look back at India’s five wins.
1) Third ODI, Centurion, 1992-93
India’s first ODI win on South African soil came in their third attempt, under lights at SuperSport Park. Captain Kepler Wessels and Andrew Hudson (87) put on 92 for the first wicket, but disciplined bowling and fielding from the Indians thwarted the hosts’ hopes of a big total. South Africa dragged to a middling 214/5 from their allotted 50 overs. Anil Kumble bowled with parsimony to claim 2/29.
Openers Ajay Jadeja and Woorkeri Raman began stodgily, adding 56 in 19 overs. After 35 overs, India were 123/3. Raman firmly held one end with his first century in the face of the rising required rate. When he was sixth out for a measured 114 off 148 balls, India still needed 21 from three overs. However, Ravi Shastri smote 27* off 16 balls to see India home by four wickets with five balls to spare.
2) Seventh ODI, East London, 1992-93
The seven-match series ended 5-2 in South Africa’s favour after India pulled off a hard-fought five-wicket win at Buffalo Park. Medium pacer Manoj Prabhakar (3/43) and left-arm spinner Venkatapathy Raju (3/37) bowled with purpose to help restrict South Africa to 203/8. Wessels top-scored with 57, while Hansie Cronje provided much-needed impetus with a 56-ball 55 from number six.
The South African pacers began strongly, and at 80/4 in the 26th over, the hosts were on top. Pravin Amre, who shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 50 with Kapil Dev, rose to the challenge. When Kapil was out, India needed 74 in 77 balls. Amre (84* in 98 balls) however found a willing ally in wicketkeeper Vijay Yadav (34* in 22). The duo put on 74* in just ten overs to secure victory in the 48th over.
3) Third ODI, Triangular Tournament, Centurion, 2001-02
South Africa had won their first two games in the tri-series, against India and Kenya. In their first game, India had failed to defend 279. But at Centurion, they turned the tables with a spirited bowling display. Shaun Pollock (5/37) starred as India were bowled out for 233 in 48.5 overs, the fulcrum of the innings being a fourth-wicket stand of 90 between Rahul Dravid (54) and Yuvraj Singh.
Ever since Ajit Agarkar removed Herschelle Gibbs in his first over, India were pepped up. The lack of a solid partnership hurt the Proteas, as they slumped from 66/2 to 106/7. Harbhajan Singh ate into the middle order with a stifling haul of 3/27. Lance Klusener and Mark Boucher attempted a revival with an eighth-wicket stand of 79, but it was not enough to prevent India’s win by 41 runs.
Munaf Patel is ecstatic after taking the final South African wicket at Johannesburg in 2010-11, giving India a thrilling one-run win (source – gettyimages)
4) Second ODI, Johannesburg, 2010-11
After a 135-run defeat in the first ODI at Durban, India levelled the series at the Wanderers in extraordinary fashion. Yuvraj Singh (53) and captain MS Dhoni had taken India to 150/3 in the 37th over with a fourth-wicket alliance of 83, but the South African fast bowlers, inspired by Lonwabo Tsotsobe (4/22), gobbled the last seven wickets in less than 11 overs to condemn India to 190.
South Africa lost Hashim Amla early, but skipper Graeme Smith kept the chase on track. After 32 overs, the score read 152/4, and India needed something special. Munaf Patel, who returned a splendid 4/29, castled Smith for 77 to open the floodgates. The lower order caved in quickly, and a full seven overs were left when Patel dismissed Wayne Parnell to give India a pulsating win by one run.
5) Third ODI, Cape Town, 2010-11
Another upbeat bowling effort saw India inch ahead in the five-match series. South Africa struggled to 90/4 in the 24th over before JP Duminy (52) and Faf du Plessis (60) added 110 for the fifth wicket. They could not capitalise on this fightback though, and lost their last six wickets for the addition of 20 runs to be bowled out for 220 in 49.2 overs. Zaheer Khan was India’s best bowler, taking 3/43.
India faltered in reply, and by the halfway stage, were placed at 93/5. Yusuf Pathan strode out at this point, and he went on to swing the game around with Suresh Raina. They shared 75 for the sixth wicket before Raina fell to Morne Morkel (3/28). Pathan followed for a 69-ball 59 soon after to make it 182/7, but the tail, led by Harbhajan (23*) held its nerve to seal a two-wicket win in 48.2 overs.