After a riveting Test series, India and South Africa will go head-to-head in the upcoming six-match ODI series, starting February 1 at Kingsmead, Durban.
South Africa proved their might at home by outclassing India in the first two Test but India won the third and final Test by 63 runs on a challenging Johannesburg wicket, thereby giving themselves a massive boost ahead of the limited-overs leg of the ongoing tour.
Second-ranked India are expected to offer a sterner challenge to top-ranked South Africa in the 50-over format, given the conditions are unlikely to be as seamer-friendly as they were in the Test series. The Asian giants though have not won an ODI series in the "Rainbow Nation" and haven't tasted success at Kingsmead even after playing seven matches at the venue.
However, the Virat Kohli-led Indian team are capable of challenging South Africa, according to the hosts' captain Faf du Plessis.
"I feel like this Indian cricket team has got the names on paper to challenge that and get some victories in South Africa. They have proved that in the Test series and they are a quality team. So I expect the same in the ODIs coming up," Du Plessis told the media on the eve of the first ODI.
The absence of injured AB de Villiers, who is known for his game-changing abilities, for the first three ODIs also comes as a big boost for India. However, the visitors themselves have to fix a few areas of concerns when it comes to team combination.
India are yet to find a permanent option for the No. 4 slot and captain Kohli has hinted at playing Ajinkya Rahane in the middle-order. However, it remains to be seen if the Men in Blue will drop Shreyas Iyer, who hit a couple of half-centuries against Sri Lanka at home last year.
On the other hand, South Africa would want the likes of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis to step up in the absence of De Villiers. While the poor form of their wicketkeeper-batsman is an area of concern, the return of all-rounder JP Duminy and Chris Morris will boost the balance of the hosts.
Live streaming and TV coverage
(The 1st ODI will start at 1pm local time, 4:30pm IST and 11am GMT)
India: TV: Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3; Live streaming: Sony LIV
South Africa: TV: SuperSport 2; Live streaming: SuperSport live
UK: TV: Sky Sports Cricket; Live streaming: Sky Go
US: Willow TV
Pitch and playing conditions
Durban is set to receive rainfall on Thursday morning but the weather is expected to be fine during the day-night match. The Kingsmead wicket may not be pace-rich and is expected to offer a lot of runs.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Jean-Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo