India skipper Virat Kohli slammed his 35th ODI century as India beat South Africa by eight wickets in the final ODI match at the Supersport Park to wrap up the ODI series 5-1.
Chasing a paltry 205 runs to win, Kohli scored an unbeaten 129 off 96 deliveries and along with Ajinkya Rahane put on an unbeaten 126-run partnership for the third wicket to shut the doors on South Africa. The Indian captain’s unbeaten knock was studded with 19 boundaries and two sixes.
South Africa removed Rohit Sharma early but Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli took charge of the chase with a 61-run stand for the second wicket. Although Dhawan fell against the run of play, Kohli ensured he stays put and along with Rahane took India home.
Earlier, Khaya Zondo struck his maiden ODI fifty to steer South Africa to 204 even as the other batsmen failed to find an answer to the disciplined Indian bowling.
Zondo top-scored for the Proteas with a 74-ball 54, laced with three boundaries and two sixes on a good batting track, where most of the other batsmen failed against rookie pacer Shardul Thakur (4/52) and the wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal (2/38) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/51). Jasprit Bumrah also gave good support by taking two wickets.
Asked to bat, the Proteas could hardly recover from the early loss of openers Hashim Amla (10) and skipper Aiden Markram (24) even as No.3 AB de Villiers (30) wasted a start after adding 62 runs for the third wicket with Zondo.
Playing his first match of the series, Mumbai youngster Thakur was on fire in his first five overs, getting rid of Amla, caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and then the key wicket of Markram with a slow off-cutter, caught by Shreyas Iyer at cover.
Chahal soon joined the party, knocking off de Villiers’ leg stick with a flipper to reduce the Proteas to 105/3, before wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klassen (22) joined Zondo for a brief 30-run fourth wicket stand.
Such was the dominance of the Indians that the explosive Klassen failed to find a way to free his arms and when he attempted to drive a slower one from Bumrah, skipper Virat Kohli smartly grabbed a low catch at short cover.
Thakur was then brought back for his next spell and he responded in style by packing back Farhaan Behardien (1) caught by Bumrah at third man. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who till now had a silent outing, came to the party with the wicket of Chris Morris (4) as the Proteas stared at yet another batting collapse.
Zondo, by now had reached his maiden ODI fifty with a touch off Kuldeep for a single and sensed the urgency to shift gears, which, however turned fatal for him.
After reaching the milestone, the 27-year-old Zondo lost his concentration and mistimed a tossed up delivery from Chahal only to find Hardik Pandya running in from sweeper cover to complete a regulation catch.
Reduced to 151/7, South Africa lost all hopes of a competitive score with Andile Phehlukwayo (34) and Morne Morkel (20) adding a quick-fire 36-run stand before Pandya packed back Morkel caught by Iyer.
The tailenders Imran Tahir (2) and Lungisani Ngidi (0 not out), hardly troubled the scorers even though Phehlukwayo clobbered Thakur for two consecutive sixes to raise South Africa’s 200.
South Africa Innings: Aiden Markram(c) c Shreyas Iyer & b SN Thakur 24-30-3-1, Hashim Amla c Dhoni & b SN Thakur 10-19-2-0, AB de Villiers b Chahal 30-34-4-0, Khaya Zondo c Hardik Pandya & b Chahal 54-74-3-2, Heinrich Klaasen(wk) c Kohli & b Bumrah 22-40-3-0, Farhaan Behardien c Bumrah & b SN Thakur 1-5-0-0, Chris Morris c Dhawan & b Kuldeep Yadav 4-8-0-0, Andile Phehlukwayo c & b SN Thakur 34-42-2-2, Morne Morkel c Shreyas Iyer & b Hardik Pandya 20-19-0-2, Imran Tahir c Kohli & b Bumrah 2-8-0-0, Lungisani Ngidi not out 0-2-0-0,
Extras: 3, Total: 204 (4.36 runs per over),
Bowling: Shardul Thakur 8.5-0-52-4, Jasprit Bumrah 8-1-24-2, Hardik Pandya 10-0-39-1, Kuldeep Yadav 10-0-51-1, Yuzvendra Chahal 10-0-38-2
India innings: Shikhar Dhawan c Zondo & b Lungi Ngidi 18-34-2-0, Rohit Sharma c Klaasen & b Lungi Ngidi 15-13-3-0, Virat Kohli(c) not out 129-96-19-2, Ajinkya Rahane not out 34-50-3-0,
Extras: 10, Total: 206 (6.4 runs per over),
Bowling: Morne Morkel 7-0-42-0, Lungisani Ngidi 8-1-54-2, Chris Morris 6-0-36-0, Andile Phehlukwayo 4-0-27-0, Imran Tahir 7.1-0-42-0.