From the whites, it was the time to move to colored clothing as South Africa took on India in the first of the 6 ODIs of the series. Unlike the Test series where the hosts won the first game and stamped their authority, it was the visitors who stepped up and took the early honors in the ODIs. Faf du Plessis’s century was overpowered by his counterpart Virat Kohli as India took a 1-0 lead in Durban.
Initially, the Proteas won the toss and elected to bat first. Indian pacers didn’t let the South African openers score freely and pretty early in the match, Jasprit Bumrah removed Hashim Amla for 16. Quinton de Kock and du Plessis had a partnership of 53 for the 2nd wicket and they seemed like running away with the game from India.
But as it happened a lot of times in the past, the Indian spinners struck big time in the middle overs. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav claimed 2 wickets each in a quick succession to leave the hosts in trouble at 134/5 in the 28th over. It was then Chris Morris and then Andile Phehlukwayo who stuck with the skipper to bail them out of trouble.
Faf went on to score a splendid hundred and despite having trouble with his fitness, he stayed there until the 50th over when he got out after scoring 120 off 122 balls consisting of 11 fours and 2 sixes. South Africa managed to reach 269/8 at the end of 50 overs that was supposedly a challenging total.
In reply, the Indian openers came out with an intention of going after the bowling. Rohit Sharma looked fluent in his short stay at the crease as he hit a couple of fours and his trademark pull shot for a six. But as he was looking to loft Morne Morkel over mid-on, he ended up getting a top edge and had to walk back for 20 in the 7th over.
Shikhar Dhawan found his touch quickly and along with the skipper Virat Kohli, he carried the chase forward at a good run rate. Just when he was looking set to score big, a confusion in running between the wickets led to his downfall and he got run out for 35 as India were 67/2 in the 13th over.
The situation was tense for India and they had experimented with Ajinkya Rahane at No.4. There was an opportunity for the hosts to strike back but Rahane had other ideas. He played a magnificent knock and didn’t let the pressure rise on his captain. The duo looked flawless in the middle and handled the dangerous Imran Tahir quite comfortably during the middle phase.
The South Africans were clueless as they did not find any answers to the class of the Indian pair. Kohli notched up his 33rd ODI hundred and Rahane too brought up his half-century. A partnership of 191 put India on the crisp of victory. Rahane, in the hunt for finishing with a flourish, perished for 79 off 86 balls.
Kohli too became a victim of Phehlukwayo after scoring 112 off 119 balls with 10 fours. With just 8 runs required for victory, MS Dhoni had to walk in and to put an end to the perfect script, the finish was executed with a boundary off Dhoni’s bat to give India a win by 6 wickets in the 46th over. The victory ended South Africa’s 17-game winning streak at home and also, it was the first time India defeated South Africa at the Kingsmead, Durban.
South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first
South Africa: 269/8 in 50 overs
Faf du Plessis 120, Chris Morris 37
Kuldeep Yadav 34/3, Yuzvendra Chahal 45/2
India: 270/4 in 45.3 overs
Virat Kohli 112, Ajinkya Rahane 79
Andile Phehlukwayo 42/2, Morne Morkel 35/1
India won by 6 wickets
Player of the Match: Virat Kohli