IND vs SA, 1st ODI prediction: Who will win series opener between KL Rahul-led India and South Africa?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 04:51 PM(IST)

Who will win series opener between KL Rahul-led India and South Africa? Photo | CSA/BCCI Photograph:( Twitter )

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After the riveting three Tests, India and South Africa will face each other in the three-match ODI series opener at Boland Park, Paarl. Here's the match prediction:

After the riveting three Tests, India and South Africa will square off with each other in the three-match ODI series opener at Boland Park, Paarl on Wednesday (January 19). Team India will play their first-ever series in the 50-over format since July 2021 and following Rahul Dravid's appointment as the head coach.

In 2021, India played two bilateral ODI series, versus England and Sri Lanka respectively. India ended the year winning four games and losing two. Since then, a lot has changed in Indian cricket. Virat Kohli was sacked as the ODI captain, having resigned on his own as T20I and Test captain (recently on January 15). Rohit Sharma was named the limited-overs captain in early December 2021, before being ruled out of the upcoming ODIs due to hamstring injury.

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Thus, the 29-year-old KL Rahul will take the charge of the side in the SA ODIs in Rohit's absence. Rahul has already led India in the ongoing tour, during the second and penultimate Test at The Wanderers, Johannesburg. It will be interesting to see how he guides the side with veterans such as Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, etc.

Since July 2021, Dravid has already worked with several captains -- in the form of Dhawan, Rohit, Ajinkya Rahane, Kohli and Rahul. Thus, the national side will be eager to gel well and start the series with a bang after losing the Tests 2-1. The young guns such as Venkatesh Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Md Siraj, Rishabh Pant, etc. will be desperate to make the most of their chances.

On the other hand, Bavuma-led SA aren't pushovers by any means. The likes of Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Lungi Ngidi, etc. will be bolstered by the presence of white-ball specialists David Miller, Andile Pheklukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi. 

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Match prediction for India-South Africa encounter: There's not much separating both sides. Expect big runs with small boundaries -- on a pitch known to be slow and flat -- if the weather doesn't play a big role. SA's practice session was abandoned on Tuesday (January 18) due to rain interruption. Thus, the weather can make its presence felt.

Given how much India enjoy playing this format and are well in sync with it, expect the visitors to go 1-0 up. Nonetheless, it will be a close contest.

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