At the end of the 5th one dayer between India and South Africa yesterday, the scoreboard read South Africa win the match by 34 runs of course by the Duckworth - Lewis method and hence the series 3-2. But, the real question is did South Africa emerge victorious or did India lose the game? It was fascinating to see the South African batsmen put up a steady partnership of 97 runs for the 2nd wicket between Hashim Amla and Morne van Wyk which was followed by a 101 run partnership between Hashim Amla and jean Paul Duminy for the 4th wicket. South Africa were just 3 down for 231 runs on board at the end of the 42nd over.
However, despite all these, at the end of their innings, South Africa were 9 down with just 250 on the board meaning just another 19 runs were scored from just above 3 overs losing 6 wickets at a stretch. This in turn shows the lack of discipline of the South African batsmen in the death overs and that too when they were batting on their home pitch. If not for Hashim Amla, Jean Paul Duminy and van Wyk, no other batsman's score was worth any praise. The trio amassed a total of 218 runs with extras contributing 11 runs out of the 250 runs they could manage.
Rain, temporary abandonment of the game in addition to the introduction of the Duckworth - Lewis method should not be the reason for their debacle for even in the previous games as well, South Africa's performance with the bat was not anything different from what it was yesterday. The Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni bought in 8 of his eleven men to bowl at the Proteas and the scoreboard suggests that runs have been scored from the overs bowled by Suresh Raina, Rohith Sharma, Munaf Patel and Yuvraj Singh, with Munaf Patel being the only noted bowler among the lot.
Though Munaf gave away an expensive 6.42 runs an over, he was successful in scalping 3 wickets which included the price wicket of J P Duminy. And coming to India's point, there was no need for Yousuf Pathan to go for that shot when the required run rate was well below 6 an over and no more batsmen to make up for the loss. India did well to recover from 119/8 at the end of the 23rd over to 234 all out in the 40th over. A 68 ball 100 in such a situation is much praise worthy compared to the slow and steady 116 by Hashim Amla.
It was fascinating to see Zaheer's 24 run and a 100 run 9th wicket partnership with Yousuf Pathan when even noted batsmen like Raina, Rohith Sharma and Yuvraj failed. At the end, winners had a lot of flaws in them while losers took home the real spirit. And, just before the world cup players need to Work At Home.