India thrashed South Africa by nine wickets at Centurion to take a 2-0 lead in the ODI series.
India dominated this contest from start to finish. Leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav combined to claim eight wickets and dismiss South Africa for 118 inside 33 overs. From there, the Indian batsmen took the fight to the hosts, knocking off the runs inside 21 overs.
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl first. The pitch looked a good one for batting, and Kohli said that he was backing his team to chase down a big total.
India went into this game with three spinners. The ball didn’t turn excessively at Centurion on Sunday. Nevertheless, Chahal, Kuldeep, and Kedah Jadhav did well to hit the right areas and limit the Proteas’ scoring opportunities.
The pressure told. More experienced players such as Quinton de Kock, David Miller, and JP Duminy got themselves out through poor shot selection. Stand-in skipper Aiden Markram and debutant Khaya Zondo were also dismissed after attempting to force the issue.
De Kock and Hashim Amla put on 39 runs for the first wicket. The Proteas lost their next nine wickets for 79 runs. The decision to go with an extended tail backfired, too, as the hosts lost their last five wickets for 19 runs and in a period of six overs.
The Proteas failed to bat out their allotted 50 overs. As many as 17.4 overs remained when the last man, Chris Morris, was dismissed by Chahal.
It took India a similar number of overs to score the winning runs. The Proteas certainly cannot blame the pitch for their shocking batting performance.
Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli scored at around six runs per over before lunch was called at the end of the 19th over. India needed two runs for victory at that point.
It wouldn’t have taken more than a few deliveries for Dhawan and Kohli to knock off those runs. The officials, however, insisted on taking the break.
The visitors took nine balls to score the winning runs after lunch.
The Proteas have significant problems on the batting front. The top and middle-order players have failed to deal with India’s spinners over the past two matches. The shot selection has been horrendous, and few batsmen have looked to occupy the crease for extended periods.
The bad news for the hosts is that neither AB de Villiers nor Faf du Plessis will be available for the next match in Cape Town. De Villiers may well return thereafter, but Du Plessis has been ruled out for the rest of the series. De Kock also appears to have sustained a hand injury, and may be forced onto the sidelines.
It’s hard to see South Africa turning things around at Newlands given that their batting cannot get much stronger – in terms of personnel – at this stage.
India need one more win to go 3-0 up in the series. South Africa have to succeed at Newlands on Wednesday to keep their chances of winning the six-game series alive.
SA 118 (32.2 overs)– Khaya Zondo 25, JP Duminy 25, Yuzvendra Chahal 5-22, Kuldeep Yadav 3-20
India 119-1 (20.3 overs)– Shikhar Dhawan 51 not out, Virat Kohli 46 not out, Kagiso Rabada 1-24
India won by nine wickets
South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Aiden Markram (c), 4 JP Duminy, 5 David Miller, 6 Khaya Zondo, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi, 11 Imran Tahir
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 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix