India continued their dominating performance in the limited overs series against the Proteas as they registered their maiden ODI series victory in the Rainbow nation. The Men in Blue won the 5th ODI at Port Elizabeth by 74 runs to take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the 6 match series. Opener Rohit Sharma who was not among the runs all through the tour made full use of the opportunity by smashing his 17th ODI ton.
Yet again the wrist spinners were impressive bagging 6 wickets between them. However, the twin wickets of Hardik Pandya was the match-changing moment which pushed the Proteas to the backfoot. Batting first, India got off to a solid start and Dhawan, in particular, was timing the ball to perfection. He struck 8 boundaries during his knock of 34 of 23 deliveries before perishing to Rabada.
Vira Kohli was run out yet again while batting with Rohit while it was the same case with Ajinkya Rahane. Rohit, on the other hand, was slowly doing about his business as he completed yet another ton. For the 2nd time in succession, South Africa bounced back strongly in the final overs to restrict India to a below-par score of 274 in 50 overs. Lungisani Ngidi finished with 4/51 in his 9 overs spell.
South Africa got off to a promising start with Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram smashing some wonderful shots. It was Bumrah who provided the initial breakthrough in the form of Markram but what changed the whole complexion of the match was the wickets of JP Duminy and AB de Villiers. It was Hardik Pandya who bagged the twin wickets to push South Africa to the backfoot.
Despite some stubborn resistance by David Miller and Hashim Amla, the wrist spinners kept pegging away and finally got the reward in the form of Miller’s wicket. Heinrich Klassen played a good hand of 39 of 42 deliveries which included a couple of fours and sixes each. However, it was Kuldeep who ended South Africa’s hopes with 3 wickets in his final over.
Virat Kohli was a very pleased man after the victory and here is what he spoke in the post-match presentation ceremony
“Very pleased. Another convincing win for us and I thought the guys really got stuck in, with the bat, with the ball, and on the field as well. It was a complete performance from us which was important to put together after the last game. Only one team had the pressure of losing the series right from the start and that was South Africa. We knew that a few mistakes and we’d be right back in the game. Right from the third Test in Jo’burg, it has been a great time for us. We’ve been playing some really good cricket and it has been a collective effort from the team-mates, the support staff, and everybody; feels wonderful to be 4-1 up. When three guys at the top are playing well and scoring consistently, every now and then you get an opportunity where you might not click, and when this series is wrapped up we’ll look to think about what we can do to improve and strengthen as we move forward. Every team has a vision of the 2019 World Cup and that’s what we need to plan for, but for now, 4-1 seems great and we’ll look to wrap it up well. We want to win 5-1 for sure, that doesn’t change, but there’ll be a chance for others to step in as well. The first priority is to win and we’ll do anything to do that again.”
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