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  Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Series preserves status quo
BBC Sport Online's Dan Roan takes a look back at the recent one-day series between South Africa, India and Kenya.

The Standard Bank One-Day International Series in South Africa featured some fascinating clashes, runs galore, and one of the all-time great upsets.

But above all, it served to reinforce the view that South Africa, along with the Aussies of course, remain some way ahead of the chasing pack.

Underdogs Kenya still have work to do before they can regularly challenge on the international stage.

As for India, as always their class shone through, but they remain frustratingly fallible, and once again failed when it mattered.

Friday's final at Kingsmead between hosts South Africa and India was an anti-climax after some great contests in the qualifying games.

South Africa were simply too slick for Ganguly's men, as they rattled up a six-wicket victory that was every bit as comprehensive as the margin suggests.

Ganguly: frustrated by final performance
Ganguly: frustrated by final performance

But the result was also a fair reflection of the course of the series. South Africa won six of the seven games they played, with their batsmen feasting on some friendly, reliable wickets.

The hosts' opener Gary Kirsten had a magnicent series, scoring over 370 runs at an average of 93. He only narrowly missed out on a third century in the series in the final where he hit 87.

South Africa skipper Shaun Pollock will also be delighted with the form of Jacques Kallis and Neil McKenzie, and bowlers Justin Kemp and Nantie Hayward, all of whom enjoyed success throughout the series.

The South Africans were a model of efficiency throughout the tournament.

Their remarkable run chase in the opening game at the Wanderers, when they overhauled India's 279, set the tone, and they never looked back.

Smooth machine

With the exception of the defeat against India at Centurion, the South African machine worked smoothly, and they will take a psychological edge going into the forthcoming Test series.

Indian must now regroup after an astonishing ninth consecutive one-day tournament final defeat.

Captain Sourav Ganguly admitted he was at a loss to explain his team's dismal run.

"It's just not happening for us in finals," he said. "We have to find some solution but I don't know what. We've lost three this year and haven't played well in any."

Despite the good form of Ganguly, and his fellow batting stars Sahin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, India's batsmen underperformed in the Final, on a bouncy Durban wicket.

Kirsten continued to score heavily
Kirsten continued to score heavily

Their spinners Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble were given little assistance by the South African pitches, and the embarassing defeat to Kenya can only have served to erode an already fragile confidence.

India's sole win over South Africa, at Supersport Park, showed what they can do, but Ganguly will need more of the same if his team is to enjoy any success in the Test series.

As for Kenya, they will have mixed feelings about their showing in the one-day tournament.

Port Elizabeth surprise

They were expected to leave South Africa with six straight defeats, but surprised everybody by recording a win.

And what a win it was. Without their captain, Kenya lit up Port Elizabeth with a quite astonishing 70-run victory over India.

It was one of the greatest moments in the history of Kenyan cricket, following the 1996 World Cup upset of the West Indies.

The Kenyans played out of their skins, none more so than Joseph Angara who took the new ball and claimed the most prized wicket in cricket, that of Sachin Tendulkar for three, during his opening spell.

Woolmer delight

Bob Woolmer, the ICC's new high performance director, was delighted by the victory:

"It withheld some of the critics who have been complaining that Kenya shouldn't be playing at this level," he said. "There was a certain amount of complacency in India's play but Kenya capitalised on that. It was an important win."

But some of Kenya's performances also served to demonstrate the gulf in class that still exists between the haves and the have-nots of international cricket

At Bloemfontein they were bowled out for just 90, and India quickly knocked off the winning runs in less than 12 overs. Kenya were also blown away by South Africa at Newlands in an overwhelming 208-run victory.

However, the East African side were in South Africa not to challenge, but to learn ahead of the 2003 World Cup. Few would bet against them upsetting one of the big boys in two years time.

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