Shikhar Dhawan hit 109 as India set South Africa a target of 290 for victory in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers.
The Proteas bowlers did exceptionally well to limit India to less than 300. At one point, Dhawan and Virat Kohli appeared in complete control, and the visitors were on track for a score in the region of 350. Some accurate bowling and fielding at the death, however, kept India in check.
The hosts needed to start well after losing the toss and being asked to field. Kagiso Rabada got the ball to leap up off a length and hit the splice of Rohit Sharma’s bat. The fast bowler showed remarkable athleticism and determination to rush forward and complete an outstanding catch.
The next 25-odd overs belonged to India. Dhawan and Kohli – who put on 140 runs in the previous ODI in Cape Town – took relatively few chances in setting the platform for what should have been another big team total. Together, Dhawan and Kohli amassed 158 runs for the second wicket.
India were 173-1 after 30 overs. The Proteas did well to keep things tight for a few overs thereafter. Kohli lost patience, and attempted to hit a rising delivery straight to David Miller.
Dhawan, who scored 76 in Cape Town, would not be denied a ton on this occasion. The India opener hit Rabada for a six on the leg-side and then a four straight down the ground to bring up his 13th ODI century. Dhawan also became the first Indian player to score a ton in his 100th ODI.
Play was delayed for 50 minutes thereafter due to lightning and some rain. South Africa fired immediately after the break to dismiss Dhawan and then Ajinkya Rahane. The double breakthrough checked India’s charge and effectively scuppered their chances of posting a formidable score.
Despite MS Dhoni’s late flourish, India only managed to score 59 runs in the last 10 overs. They would have wanted a total of 320-plus after Dhawan and Kohli set such a great platform.
That said, it’s going to take a special performance by South Africa – and their gun player, AB de Villiers – to win the match from here. The Proteas need to win this game to keep the series alive.
India may still fancy their chances given that their wrist-spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, have dominated the Proteas batsmen in the first three matches. Lightning and rain interruptions may further hamper South Africa’s chances of scoring a crucial win.
The Proteas were guilty of bowling 12 wides. They may come to regret those unforced errors later if there is a close finish.
India 289-7 (50 overs) – Shikhar Dhawan 109, Virat Kohli 75, Lungi Ngidi 2-52, Kagiso Rabada 2-58
South Africa need 290 to win
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix