Virat Kohli and his lads went into the history books as the first team to win a series in the Rainbow Nation. India defeated host South Africa by 73 runs to seal the six-match series 4-1 with one to go in Centurion on Friday (February 15).
Meanwhile, India has a very poor record when it comes to bilateral series away from home. While they have won just two out of eight in England, however, no victories in bilateral series. On Tuesday (February 14), India finally broke the shackles and went on to win their first bilateral tournament in South Africa.
Batting first India registered 274 while banking on Rohit Sharma’s ton. Rohit, who didn’t look good in the previous games, came to the party at the right moment.
In reply, South Africa was bundled out for just 201 runs with Kuldeep Yadav (4) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2) again doing the bulk of the job. Both shared six wickets in the match.
This victory is special:
Rohit, who played the match-winning knock admitted that this win is very special. He looked fluent as he dominated the bowlers. He scored his 17th century and first in South Africa as India took an unassailable lead of 4-1 in the series.
“This will be right up there. After 25 years, we have won a series in South Africa. Not the easiest place to play cricket, definitely not the easiest place to win a series. We won the tri-series in Australia. Even that series was quite tough. For me, it is difficult to compare the two. I mean it is difficult to say which series means more but I think this series means a lot to us. The way we played from the first game, we have dominated the series,” Rohit said after the match.
Rohit credited the top-order:
The swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma further feels India’s dominance was mainly due to the top-order providing India with good starts. Also, he added that the lower-order and the middle-order didn’t get the opportunity to bat.
“Whatever series we have played before, in India and in Champions Trophy, a lot of the scoring has been done by the top three guys. It augurs well for the team. We always talk about batsmen batting through the innings. That is what we are trying to do. The top three have got the best opportunity because they get to play maximum balls. So our three’s responsibility is that if we are set then we have to try and play long,” Rohit added.
Five bowlers strategy:
Meanwhile, India won without the sixth bowler. Recently, India has availed the services of Kedar Jadhav, who bowls decent off-spin.
However, Shreyas Iyer was picked ahead of Jadhav for the fifth ODI. Rohit credited the bowlers, especially Hardik Pandya for bowling in tight conditions.
“It’s always good to have the cushion of that sixth bowler. Kedar has unfortunately been injured. That provided these guys a challenge knowing they don’t have anyone else to bowl those overs if needed. The confidence that they got from the last two games is immense. We have confidence in those five bowlers that we played. Hardik deserves special mention — the way he came out and bowled in the middle, at the start, towards the end as well. He got crucial breakthroughs,” Rohit concluded.
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