It was a must-win game for South Africa as India had wrapped up the proceedings in all the previous games to gain an unassailable lead of 3-0. Even though the hosts didn’t have a chance to win the series, yet they were still in it to draw level by winning the remaining ODIs.
Johannesburg was the venue for the 4th ODI and it was yet another special occasion as South Africa donned pink for the breast cancer awareness. On all previous occasions, the Proteas turned to pink, they had emerged victorious and yet again, they ended up on the winning side to keep the winning streak alive.
There was a threat of thunderstorm looming over the game and to the surprise of everyone, Virat Kohli elected to bat first after winning the toss. Teams usually opt to bat second whenever there is a possibility of DLS method intervening. Just like the previous games, Rohit Sharma fell prey early to Kagiso Rabada for 5 in the 4th over.
The Kohli-Dhawan show
India’s 2 in-form batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were at it again as they formed a brilliant partnership to lay the foundation. Both of them were matching each other shot for shot and put up a show of sheer classy batsmanship. The score was cruising even after the fielding restrictions were lifted and the duo didn’t take much time in reaching their individual fifties.
Kohli departed in the hunt for quick runs after scoring 75 off 83 balls in the 32nd over as a magnificent partnership of 158 ended. A century had been eluding Dhawan in the series thus far but finally, the left-hander crossed the hurdle to notch up his 13th ODI hundred. India’s score reached 200 in 34.2 overs and they were ready to launch at the backend.
Lightning halted India’s progress
The clouds became darker and there was fierce lightning around the ground that propelled the umpires to take the players off. After nearly 45 minutes, the game resumed but the break didn’t help India’s cause. The momentum broke and Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane went back in the space of 7 deliveries.
Shreyas Iyer and MS Dhoni constructed a stand of 37 runs but the former didn’t last long. Hardik Pandya too fell cheaply and all of a sudden, the onus was on Dhoni to take the team to a substantial score. What looked like an innings going well past 300, ended up at the score of 289/7. Some late strikes from the wicketkeeper-batsman took India to a defendable total.
South Africa had a good start against the Indian seamers as they came out with a clear strategy of collecting as many runs as possible before the wrist spinners arrive. Aiden Markram was shaping up well until he was trapped in front by Jasprit Bumrah for 22 in the 8th over as the score read 43/1.
The rain break helped South Africa again
It was again the turn of lightning to take the players off. This time, the rain gods decided to make an appearance. The DLS method had to come in that reduced the target for South Africa to 202 from 28 overs. The Indian bowlers resumed well as Kuldeep Yadav removed JP Duminy for 10 and soon after, the chinaman accounted for the wicket of Hashim Amla as well.
With 3 wickets down for 77, AB de Villiers, staging a comeback, hammered Yuzvendra Chahal for 2 sixes in a row in the 16th over. He was looking in an ominous touch but just when he threatened to run away with the game, Pandya struck gold and sent back AB for 26.
No ball hurt India again
The wrist spinners seemed to have got the number of the South African batsmen yet again as Chahal castled David Miller in the 18th over. But the leggie had overstepped and the batsman got a reprieve. It simply unleashed Miller as he struck 3 fours in a row to Pandya in the next over. The ball was getting wet due to a damp outfield and the spinners weren’t proving to be as effective.
But Kohli persisted with the spin duo and Miller and Heinrich Klaasen went on the charge. There was absolute carnage at the Wanderers as the ball kept sailing into the crowds. The equation was reduced to 35 from the last 5 overs and the match was quickly moving away from the grasp of the visitors.
Chahal managed to pick up Miller’s wicket in the 24th over and a glimmer of hope was back in the Indian camp. But Andile Phehlukwayo, who was promoted above Chris Morris, shattered all the hopes as he slammed 23 runs off just 5 balls with 3 sixes and a four. South Africa achieved the target with 15 balls to spare and kept themselves alive in the series.
India won the toss and opted to bat first
India: 289/7 in 50 overs
Shikhar Dhawan 109, Virat Kohli 75
Lungi Ngidi 52/2, Kagiso Rabada 58/2
South Africa: 207/5 in 25.3 overs (The target was reduced to 202 from 28 overs due to rain)
Heinrich Klaasen 43*, David Miller 39
Kuldeep Yadav 51/2, Jasprit Bumrah 21/1
South Africa won by 5 wickets by DLS method
Player of the Match: Heinrich Klaasen