Virat Kohli scored 160 not out as India thumped South Africa by 124 runs at Newlands to take a 3-0 lead in the ODI series.
It’s official: India cannot lose this series. After hammering the Proteas in Durban, Centurion, and most recently in Cape Town, the visitors have taken a 3-0 lead in the six-game rubber.
Kohli will hog the headlines, and rightly so, after a wonderfully paced knock of 160. The Proteas trapped the India skipper leg before in the third over when he was on 0, and the umpire raised the finger. However, a successful review allowed Kohli to survive and ultimately steer his side to a formidable total of 303.
The Proteas didn’t get much right in this fixture. The decision to omit Morne Morkel was perplexing, even more so given the injury-enforced absence of experienced players such as AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock. Aiden Markram’s decision to bowl first was also questionable.
The Proteas bowlers failed to fire, as individuals and as a unit. Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were in complete command during the initial stages, amassing 140 runs for the second wicket. That stand set India up for a big score.
Kohli ensured that the visitors finished with a total in excess of 300. A Proteas batting lineup short of experience was always going to struggle to chase that down.
Indeed, the fate of the Proteas appeared to be sealed when they lost Hashim Amla in the second over. Markram and JP Duminy attempted to rebuild the innings, putting on 78 runs for the second wicket. Both were undone thereafter, though, as India’s spinners began to get into their work.
The asking rate climbed to eight in the 24th over. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were tossing the ball up and asking the batsmen to attack. The Proteas, however, did not accept the invitation.
Instead, David Miller and Khaya Zondo only looked to occupy the crease. By the 30th over, the asking rate was hovering around nine.
Jasprit Bumrah broke the partnership in the 33rd over. Together, Miller and Zondo put on 34 runs in 64 balls. Miller only managed to score 25 off 42 balls.
Zondo battled on for three more overs without making a meaningful contribution as far as the contest was concerned. He eventually perished when attempting to sweep Chahal over the ropes. Zondo scored 17 off 38 balls, and failed to hit a single boundary.
India’s leg-spinners, who were so destructive in Durban and Centurion, claimed the remaining wickets. Overall, Chahal and Yadav combined to take 8-69 at Newlands.
The teams will meet again at the Wanderers on Saturday. The Proteas need to win the remaining three games to draw the series.
India 303-6 (50 overs) – Virat Kohli 160 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 76, JP Duminy 2-60
South Africa 179 (40 overs) – JP Duminy 51, Aiden Markram 32, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-46, Kuldeep Yadav 4-23
India won by 124 runs
South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla 2 Aiden Markram (c) 3 JP Duminy, 4 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 5 David Miller, 6 Khaya Zondo, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Lungi Ngidi
India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (c), 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix