India’s most flaunting all-rounder Hardik Pandya seems to be the hogger of the limelight, be it censure or adore. The all-rounder found it tough to click in the unharmonious South African conditions and failed miserably when team India needed him the most. But, the Men in Blues’ most dynamic in the field, put in some exemplary efforts and stung the hosts to render them blunt in their chase of 275. India went on to bag the six-match ODI series 4-1 and registered their first ever ODI series victory in South Africa. While Pandya failed to come to an understanding with his willow, he put in some brilliant efforts in India’s lacklustre fielding to push the hosts out of contention. Pandya struck in two consecutive overs to send the Proteas’ paramount strikers JP Duminy and AB de Villers. (Read: Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman lead Twitter wishes on Virat Kohli and Co’s historic win)
Pandya came into bowling as a variation and in his first over he sent back JP Duminy. Aiden Markram beside Hashim Amla gave South Africa the necessary start, but after Markram departed, India’s sole aim was not to let the opponents settle. And boom! Following Duminy’s departure, Pandya sent AB de Villers as well back to the hut.
It never gets easy to bowl to de Villiers once he gets going and Pandya struck early. Before Mr 360 degree could come to terms with the St. George Park strip, Pandya sent one outside off good length delivery only to lure ABD to drive. And the ball kissed past the bat straight to MS Dhoni behind the wickets.
Earlier Rohit Sharma’s 17th ODI hundred paved the way to India’s 274, which could have been even more monstrous, had Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane been around longer. But alas! The two batsmen found themselves at the receiving end of run-outs, thanks to the misunderstanding with Sharma in between the wickets.
Relentless Indian wrist spinners were at it again as they spun their web around the Proteas batting line-up and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav were in the headlines once again, credits to his 4-fer.