Amid all speculations and censure, team India fought back valiantly to script their first ever win on South African soil beating the Proteas by 73 runs in the fifth ODI and clinch the ODI series 4-1. Kuldeep Yadav scalped 4-for to break the hosts’ chances of making a comeback into the match. Earlier, after a good start to their innings, the visitors failed to capitalise their chances and were restricted to 274 credits to Rohit Sharma’s 17th ODI century. Following Virat Kohli and Co.’s emphatic victory social media poured in wishes and leading them were indeed the cricket pundits.
Winning the toss Aiden Markram sent the visitors to bat first. India started strong but lost Shikhar Dhawan early. Skipper Kohli and Rohit Sharma then battered the Proteas pace fusillade kneading a crucial 100 runs partnership. Shorter format deputy Rohit found himself in the middle of reproval following miscommunication on the 22 yards that led to the India captain and Ajinkya Rahane’s run out despite registering his 17th ODI hundred. The visitors revealed their weakness down the batting order as MS Dhoni, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya failed to convert India’s start to a big finish. READ | How Hardik Pandya turned from villain to hero during Men in Blue’s series triumph
Chasing the target the Proteas faltered on a slow Port Elizabeth which of course turned out to be a spin paradise for Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Yadav returned with the figure of 4 for 57 while Chahal scalped 2/43. But, all-rounder Hardik Pandya emerged as a hero for India scalping AB de Villiers, running out Hashim Amla and put up a brilliant show on the field.
For the hosts, Hashim Amla showed some mettle with the willow with a gritty 71 before getting run out by Hardik Pandya. Proteas bowler Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the lot as he managed to keep the entire St. George Park on their feet with his eccentric bowling, sending Rohit, Iyer and Pandya in quick succession. The speedster scalped 4 for 51, besides the other bowlers who all were economical.
India now face South Africa for the sixth ODI on February 16, at SuperSport Park, Centurion. Following the ODIs, will be three T20Is; first T20I on February 18 at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, 2nd T20I on February 21 at SuperSport Park, Centurion and the 3rd T20I on February 24 at Newlands, Cape Town.