The much-awaited clash between the number one and number two ODI side in the world finally got underway at the Kingsmead, Durban. After winning the toss, South African captain Faf du Plessis had no second thought in opting to bat first on a seemingly batting friendly wicket.
After a steady start provided openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, it was the captain of the Protean side who provided the necessary impetus into the innings. The turning point of the South African inning came when the two Indian wrist spinners were introduced into the middle.
From 83-1, the hosts were reduced to 134-5, as Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav picked up a couple of wickets each, running through the middle order by removing de Kock, Markram, Miller and JP Duminy in quick successions.
Du Plessis then had to anchor the inning and also score at a fair run-rate to ensure that South Africa imposes a challenging total in front of the Indian team with the chase master in Kohli.
Faf did the same, as he notched up his ninth ODI ton with the help of his 112-ball 120. He had ample support from Morris and Phehlukwayo who chipped in with vital contributions down the order. But it fell apart for the host at the back end of the inning but still managed a total of 269.
With a testing target in hand, Rohit Sharma provided the early momentum in the inning followed by Shikhar Dhawan after his dismissal. Unfortunately, the southpaw was run out by the captain himself just when he looked in majestic touch. However, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane stitched a matchwinning partnership of runs 189 off just 182 balls.
Kohli notched up his 33rd ton, as he smashed 112 off 119 runs with ten boundaries to his name. Virat found able support from the other end in Ajinkya Rahane who scored 79 off just 86 balls, with a couple of sixes and five boundaries. In the end, 270 looked well short in front of the Indian batting lineup, as they raced past the required total within 46 overs and won the first one-dayer by a whooping six wickets.
Faf du Plessis during the post-match presentation lauded the Indians and accepted that the visitors played better cricket than themselves. Du Plessis credited the loss to two men named Rahane and Kohli who he thought batted brilliantly as every tactic of his fell short.
“Went upstairs to get my finger checked. One day cricket, the intensity is a lot higher. We did not bat well enough. We were at least 50-60 short. The conditions were a little slower in the first innings. India with a strong batting line-up batted really well. I tried everything. Field placements, different tactics but Virat and Rahane played really well,” commented Faf during the presentation.