Dhoni Rathore Shastri Kohli
The India think-tank have a lot to ponder overReuters

The T20I series has gone off in a flash, and just like that, we move onto the India vs South Africa ODI series starting with the first one-day international in Kanpur on Sunday.

[Unsung players to watch out for in India vs South Africa ODI series HERE]

India need a win as much as any team could in this long, long tour, having lost the T20 series 2-0. While the first match was decided by a couple of poor umpiring decisions and a genius innings, the second one was as one-sided as they come in the shortest format of the game.

The home team have had a few days now to lick their wounds – considering the final T20I was abandoned – and there really is no excuse not to come out all guns blazing in the first one-dayer on Sunday.

Interestingly, this will be the only day match of the series, so we might not be able to take too much away from the match, irrespective of who wins it.

That dew factor will not be there, so neither team should have any cause for complaints, putting further onus on India to show their prowess in coloured clothing.

It goes without saying that the batting needs to improve – well, be more consistent – if India are to win this ODI series, but to be fair to Dhoni's men, they are a different kettle of fish in the one-day format.

T20s are so often decided by one player, while ODIs – Rohit Sharma's double centuries notwithstanding – are more about teamwork. So, the batting needs to click, be that the top order, middle or lower-middle, and the bowling needs to back the batsmen up.

If India do not bowl well, South Africa will win the first ODI and then the series in a canter.

With the likes of AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and David Miller in their lineup, South Africa have the power and verve to smash any bowling out of the park, while with the return of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel they have considerably bulked up their bowling resources as well.

So, it's pretty obvious isn't it. If India are to win this series, they are going to have to be at the top of their game – much like they were in the last one-day series at home, to Sri Lanka, when they thumped the Islanders left, right and centre.

1st ODI schedule: Sunday, 11 October: India vs South Africa.

Time: 9 am IST (5.30 am SAST, 4.30 am BST, 11.30 pm ET).

Venue: Green Park Stadium in Kanpur.

TV listings: DD National (free to air), Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 3 in India. Sky Sports 2 in the UK. SuperSport in South Africa. Willow TV in the US.

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