South Africa is often termed as the best visiting team, and that surely isn’t without any constructive reason. The Proteas over the last decade have made it a habit to constantly do well overseas, and achieve phenomenal success in conditions away from home. While heavyweights such as Australia and India have often struggled outside their territorial waters, the South Africans have been all at ease. The main reason for that has been that the South African personnel can adapt really well to new conditions and can make themselves at ease without much of a fuss.
South Africa’s record in India hasn’t been too bad either. They have won a Test series in India and have achieved moderate success even in the shorter formats. Recently, they began their 72-day tour of India in a grand style as they thrashed the hosts 2-0 in a 3 match T20I series. The most noteworthy thing about South Africa’s triumph was that their first string seamers such as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were rested for the T20I series.
With South Africa taking on India in India, it is ideal to rewind back to those limited overs instances when South Africa defeated India in its own backyard.
Below, are five such instances.
1. In Hyderabad (2005):
In late 2005, South Africa toured India for a five-match ODI series. The hosts were jolted apart by the South African pacers within the first hour of the series as India lost 5 wickets for 35 runs. Yuvraj Singh though enjoyed playing under immense pressure and this was just another instance. Yuvraj, along with able contributions from MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh not just rescued India, but guided the hosts to a healthy total of 249-9 in 50 overs. Yuvraj’s 103 off 122 balls guided India to a respectable total. In those days, chasing at five runs per over wasn’t too easy and the Indians could have made a match out of it. However, a solid knock of 68 from Jacques Kallis did not let India come close to the South Africans. Kallis remained unbeaten as the visitors won the game by 5 wickets and with 7 balls to spare.
2. In Kolkata (2005):
The game in Kolkata was the fourth ODI of the same series. The hosts were put into bat and Shaun Pollock had a field day as he struck thrice in his quota of ten overs while conceding just 25 runs. Andrew Hall with his medium pace grabbed 3 wickets and was an ideal support for Pollock. For the Indians, it was once again Yuvraj Singh who showed some resistance with 53. India could only manage 188, and were all out with more than four overs to spare. The Proteas, charged up by Graeme Smith, made a mockery of the chase as they won with more than 14 overs to spare. The most annihilating part for India was that South Africa won by 10 wickets, as Smith remained unbeaten on 134.
3. In Ahmedabad (2010):
This one might have been a dead rubber as India had already clinched the series 2-0, but South Africa salvaged some pride after the game. The Indians were already on a high, as just a game ago; Sachin Tendulkar had become the first batsman to score a double ton in ODI history. India thus went in with a highly inexperienced squad. Batting first, South Africa amassed 365 on board as they lost just 2 wickets. Kallis and De Villiers went on to score brilliant tons. De Villiers blasted the Indian bowling as he made 102 off just 59 balls. India never looked in the chase, and barring Kohli’s 57, none of the batsmen displayed any resistance. South Africa easily won the game by 90 runs, even though the series was already gone.
4. In Nagpur (2011):
Even though the margin of victory for South Africa was narrow, this loss was a stinging one for India as it came in a World Cup game. India, batting first were given a dream start by Sehwag and Tendulkar. The latter went on to score a sensational ton and India initially seemed to be headed for a total in excess of 350. However, some sheer brilliance from Dale Steyn meant that India lost its last 9 wickets for just 29 runs. South Africa began steadily in their chase of 297. Kallis, Amla, and De Villiers all made fine half-centuries as the Indian bowling struggled on a flat deck. There was hope for the Indians as South Africa lost a few wickets towards the end overs. However, the thoughts of another choke were put away as Robin Petersen thrashed Ashish Nehra in the last over to clinch victory with just 2 balls to spare.
5. In Cuttack (2015):
The most recent encounter between the sides was a T20I was marred by some disgraceful behavior from the crowd. South Africa elected to field first, and literally bossed India in this clash. India lost a couple of crucial wickets because of some hopeless running between the wickets and that triggered a collapse at the top. All-rounder Albie Morkel brought all his experience into play as he struck thrice. Accurate bowling backed by acrobatic fielding from South Africa meant that the hosts were all out for a paltry 92. The Proteas chased it down with 17 balls to spare and won the T20I series.