India have achieved something very special in the Rainbow Nation as Virat Kohli and his men become the first Indian team to win a bilateral ODI series in South Africa. It all started with the victory in the third and final Test in Johannesburg and the momentum carried on to the ODI leg as well.
India won the first 3 ODIs quite comprehensively and narrowly lost the 4th one. They came back strong and got back to winning ways in the 5th ODI in Port Elizabeth and clinched the 6-match series by a margin of 4-1 with a game still to be played.
At the St George’s Park, the South African captain Aiden Markram won the toss and elected to field. The pitch offered assistance to the seamers with the new ball and the run-making was difficult in the initial overs. But Shikhar Dhawan went on the offensive that eased the pressure on India as well as his partner Rohit Sharma who had struggled in the series thus far.
When Dhawan departed for 34 in the 8th over, the score was already 48. Then, Rohit and Virat Kohli had a wonderful partnership of 105 runs as the duo carried the momentum forward and once again, a solid platform was built. But when Kohli looked like shaping up for another century, a confusion in the running led to his downfall. Ajinkya Rahane too fell prey to the same mode of dismissal soon.
Rohit, who was involved in 2 run-outs had to the take the innings forward and he did that in style by notching up his 17th ODI hundred and his first on the tour. But when he got out for 115 in the 43rd over, the same old story of Indian middle-order repeated itself as none of the batsmen could hold the fort for long and failed to accelerate and the innings which could have ended well past 300, was limited to 274/7 courtesy some tight bowling led by Lungi Ngidi.
South Africa had a decent start to the chase as Hashim Amla and Markram added 52 runs for the first wicket. But Jasprit Bumrah came to India’s rescue and sent back the opposition skipper for 32. Hardik Pandya then struck gold by dismissing JP Duminy and AB de Villiers in successive overs to leave the opposition reeling.
Amla, who had settled in the middle, was striking the ball far easier than the new guys joining him. The pitch was getting sluggish with each passing over and runs were hard to come by. The opener was involved in 2 decent partnerships, first with David Miller and then with Heinrich Klassen.
All the hopes for the Proteas rested on his shoulders but it was difficult to keep Pandya out of the game as he ran Amla out for 71 courtesy an accurate direct hit from mid-off. The score read 166/5 in the 35th over when the right-hander departed. It was time for the wrist spinners to enjoy from then on as Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ran through the tail. While Klassen struck a couple of boundaries but that didn’t prove to be enough.
Ultimately, the hosts were bowled out for 201 in the 43rd over and Kuldeep ended with 4 wickets while Chahal bagged 2. It was another commanding performance from India as the Men in Blue were ecstatic with their maiden series win in the country.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the historic Indian victory
This is a memorable moment for this side. Have done something that previous Indian teams couldn't. Win an odi series in SA
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 13, 2018
Many Congratulations to the Indian Cricket team on their first bilateral series win in South Africa. Brilliant consistency and hunger throughout and winning this series overseas is just a sign of things to come. Special team #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/eISyJ6HzUN
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 13, 2018
Congratulations India on a historic series win. The wrist spinners have been incredible and this win must be really sweet for Virat and the boys. Thoroughly outplayed South Africa #SAvIND
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 13, 2018
Congrats India on the series win. Played the better cricket all series #SAvsIND
— Robin John Peterson (@robbie13flair) February 13, 2018
— MANOJ TIWARY (@tiwarymanoj) February 13, 2018
— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) February 13, 2018
Like Virat, Rohit also can play an anchor innings at a strike rate of over 90. #Rohit100
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 13, 2018
Congratulations to Virat Kohli and his Indian team on yet another stellar performance and a series win. This is Virat Kohli ‘s India and its a special team. Great great result. #SAvIND
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 13, 2018
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 13, 2018
India now have the chance to whitewash South Africa green on Friday #SAvIND
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) February 13, 2018
— Sudeep Tyagi (@sudeep_tyagi) February 13, 2018