The action moved to the Newlands, Cape Town for the 3rd ODI between South Africa and India. Having lost the first 2 matches, the hosts were hurting and even more so because of the injuries to their top players like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock. On the other hand, everything seems to be going right for Virat Kohli and Co. as they sailed to their 3rd consecutive comprehensive win.
The chopping and changing continued for the Proteas as they made 3 changes to the line-up while the Men in Blue didn’t feel the need to tinker with the winning combination. South Africa’s stand-in skipper Aiden Markram won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first.
Rohit Sharma’s terrible form in the Rainbow Nation continued as he went back without opening his account in the very first over off Kagiso Rabada. Virat Kohli was in early once again but it was Shikhar Dhawan who took control of the proceedings. While the left-hander went after the bowlers, Kohli took the back seat and played second fiddle as the duo took the score safely to 50/1 after 10 overs.
The trend continued for a long time and both of them brought up their fifties in the process. A wonderful partnership of 140 runs gave India a great platform. Dhawan, who was looking set to bring up 3 figures, was guilty of throwing his wicket away for 76 off 63 balls as a mistimed lofted shot off JP Duminy brought curtains to his stay in the 24th over.
Virat Kohli all the way
India lost Ajinkya Rahane and Hardik Pandya in quick succession and all of a sudden, the score reached 188/4 in the 33rd over. Virat Kohli stayed firm and fought the hot conditions to notch up his 34th ODI hundred and the 2nd of the series. After 40 overs, the score reached 223/4 and Kohli, alongside Dhoni, was ready to launch at the back end.
But Dhoni struggled to accelerate and held out on the boundary line off Imran Tahir. Kedar Jadhav too fell soon and the onus then was completely on the captain. He found an able support in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the 29-year-old and put up a masterclass in the slog overs. He single-handedly took India to 303/4 at the end of 50 overs and stayed unbeaten for 160 off 159 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes.
The pitch had shown signs of being sluggish and the hosts would have hoped for a good start in pursuit of the big target. But Jasprit Bumrah ensured India were on top from the outset as he trapped Hashim Amla in front off his very first delivery of the spell. At 1/1, it was the worst possible start for South Africa and they needed some inspiration to get back on the track.
The new N0.3 Duminy accompanied Markram and the pair opted for the aggressive approach which worked for them for a decent amount of time. After 16 overs, the score read 78/1 and they were well in the hunt. But the story of previous 2 ODIs once again repeated itself. As soon as Kuldeep Yadav was into the attack, he got Markram out stumped off the 2nd ball for 32.
Chahal-Kuldeep at it again
It was the opening that the visitors were looking for. Kuldeep’s partner-in-crime Yuzvendra Chahal also got into the act and removed the debutant Heinrich Klaasen soon. Duminy reached his half-century but didn’t last long as Chahal got him out LBW for 51 as the hosts were left struggling at 95/4. David Miller hung in there for a while but Bumrah accounted for his wicket and the last hope for South Africa also went back with him.
Chahal-Kuldeep then wreaked havoc as they took wickets for fun from then on. South Africa’s inability of playing wrist spin got exposed yet again as they were bowled out for 179 in 40 overs. Both the spinners finished with 4 wickets apiece. A massive win by 124 runs gave India an unassailable lead of 3-0 with 3 more games remaining in the series.
South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl first
India: 303/6 in 50 overs
Virat Kohli 160*, Shikhar Dhawan 76
JP Duminy 60/2, Andile Phehlukwayo 42/1
South Africa: 179/10 in 40 overs
JP Duminy 51, Aiden Markram 32
Kuldeep Yadav 23/4, Yuzvendra Chahal 46/4
India won by 124 runs
Player of the Match: Virat Kohli