South Africa beat India by five wickets in a rain-affected match at the Wanderers to register their first win in the ODI series.
The Proteas overcame incredible odds on Saturday to score a crucial win and deny India the series honours. A tight bowling performance at the back end of India’s innings, and then a late flurry at the end of their own – courtesy of AB de Villiers, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo – was ultimately the difference.
Inclement weather led to two significant delays at the Wanderers. India were cruising at 200-2 when lightning and rain checked their charge in the 35th over. They battled to score after play resumed, and finished with a relatively modest score of 289.
The second delay was longer and resulted in a reduction of overs as well as a revision of the target. The Proteas lost Aiden Markram right before the delay, with the score on 43-1. When play resumed, the adjustments saw the hosts requiring a further 159 runs off 124 balls.
It was always going to be a tough ask. JP Duminy poked around before succumbing to Kuldeep Yadav. South Africa went into the final 15 overs of their innings needing nearly nine runs per over to win the game and remain in the series.
Kuldeep struck again to remove Hashim Amla. That dismissal brought Miller to the crease. If ever South Africa needed their two big hitters – De Villiers and Miller – to fire, it was then.
De Villiers took the fight to Yuzvendra Chahal straight away. After missing the first three matches of the series due to a finger injury, he appeared determined to make up for lost time. De Villiers smashed Chahal for 16 in that over.
Hardik Pandya had the danger man caught on the fine leg boundary soon afterwards. That appeared to signal the beginning of the end for the Proteas.
Miller offered up two chances in the following over. He was put down on the boundary, and then bowled by Chahal. A replay confirmed, though, that Chahal had overstepped. Miller, and by extension South Africa, survived.
Miller attempted to make India pay. He found an able partner in Klaasen, who also managed to find the boundary as the end of the innings approached. The pair put on 72 runs at a crucial time of the game.
Chahal trapped Miller in front, and the umpire raised the finger. The damage was done at that point, though, as South Africa needed just 28 runs off 26 balls with five wickets in hand.
Klaasen maintained his composure in the closing stages, while Phehlukwayo played some big strokes to keep South Africa’s noses in front. In the end, the Proteas won with 15 balls to spare.
Virat Kohli should be disappointed. The India captain did not hesitate to bat first when he won the toss earlier in the day. Kohli spoke about the need to put South Africa under pressure, but in the back of his mind he must have known that bad weather might influence the contest later in the day.
Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan put on 158 runs for the second wicket to set a terrific platform for India. Even when Kohli departed for 75, India looked well placed to finish with a total in the region of 350.
Dhawan, who scored 76 in Cape Town, would not be denied a ton on this occasion. The India opener hit Kagiso 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 brought to a halt in the 35th over due to lightning and rain at the ground. Shortly after play resumed, Dhawan was dismissed for 109.
The Proteas fought hard to limit India to less than 300. If the visitors had gone on to post 320 or more, they may well have won the game and sealed the series.
India currently lead the series 3-1. The Proteas need to win the remaining two matches to ensure that the spoils are shared.
India 289-7 (50 overs) – Shikhar Dhawan 109, Virat Kohli 75, Lungi Ngidi 2-52, Kagiso Rabada 2-58
South Africa 207-5 (25.3 overs) – Heinrich Klaasen 43 not out, David Miller 39, Kuldeep Yadav 2-51
South Africa won by five wickets (DLS method)
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix