The third One-day International between Team India and South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town belonged to King Virat Kohli as he smashed his 34th ton in ODI cricket and took his team to a match-winning score of 303 to take an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the six-match affair.
The Indian skipper Kohli was awarded the Man of the Match award for his herculean effort at Newlands on Wednesday (February 7).
With the ball in hand, the hosts, yet again, had no answer to their nemesis in the form of a wrist-spinning duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who shared eight wickets in the innings between them.
In the end, it was yet another one-sided affair with India winning the match by 124 runs and 10 overs remaining.
Here’s a look at the India players’ ratings for Cape Town ODI:
Rohit Sharma- 1/10
Rohit Sharma’s torrid run in the South African tour continues as the stylish opening batter has to suffer yet another failure.
The greater disheartening fact is that unlike his other two outings in the ongoing series, Sharma was not even able to get a start as he was dismissed for a nought in the very first over of the match.
That said, Rohit is just a big knock away to get back into his grove and one can only hope that he would utilize the rest of the series to find his lost rhythm.
Shikhar Dhawan- 8/10
Shikhar Dhawan in coloured clothing this tour has looked a class apart as the South Africans still have no answer to the southpaw’s range of strokeplay.
After missing out in the first ODI due to an unfortunate run-out, Dhawan cashed in the next two opportunities with a couple of impactful half-centuries for India.
Post his unbeaten matchwinning innings of 51 at Centurion, Dhawan followed it up with an effervescent knock of 76 off 63 balls, with the help of his 12 boundaries, thus, laying a solid foundation for the middle order to express themselves.
The only point of criticism one can find is his inability to convert his half-centuries into centuries due to unnecessary high-risk shots.
Virat Kohli- 9.5/10
Virat Kohli throughout the Indian tour of South Africa has looked a class apart and one cannot put into words the amount of dedication and determination he has exhibited in every inning played so far.
Yet again, he stood out on a tricky surface with his mammoth innings of unbeaten 160 which was comprised of 12 boundaries and two maximums.
Out of the 160 runs, only 60 came off boundaries while the other hundred were compiled by the virtue of hard-running between the wickets and conversion of ones into twos.
After batting for 49 overs for India on a hot and humid day at Newlands, Kohli quickly came back in the field and was proactive with his field and bowling changes. He also clinched his second man of the match award of the series.
Ajinkya Rahane- 2/10:
After Dhawan and Virat put on a game-changing partnership of 140 runs in just 22 overs, Ajinkya Rahane had ample time to construct another useful knock which would have advocated him cementing the number four position in the batting order.
Unfortunately, the Mumbai batsman succumbed to a rush of blood and skied one to the long-off fielder Jean-Paul Duminy, thereby putting India in a spot of bother.
In the remainder of matches, Rahane has to shoulder more responsibility as Kohli would not resurrect the Indian innings every time.
With three matches in hand, the classy Mumbai batsman should contribute at least another innings of substance to make his case stronger for the debatable number four slot for India in ODIs.
Hardik Pandya- 3/10:
Coming in at number five, Hardik Pandya had an opportunity to prove his matchwinning abilities but like Rahane succumbed to rush of blood. After smashing the spinner for a maximum, Pandya attacked a wide ball from Chris Morris to dispatch him over extra covers, Pandya could only manage to nick one to gloveman Heinrich Klaasen at 14 and added pressure on Kohli further.
With the ball in hand, Pandya proved ineffective in his wicket-taking abilities in middle overs. The only silver lining was his economy of 4.3 in the eight-over spell where he conceded only 35 to play the containing role for the skipper.
MS Dhoni- 4.5/10:
If we look at Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the batsman, it is clear that his finishing capabilities have diminished in recent years. While he is a clear match-winner for a 240-250 scoring match.
The wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni is still not as effective in a 300-run game.
By consuming as many deliveries as he did to accelerate at the back end, Dhoni applied pressure on Kohli and took away the impetus from the Indian innings. He failed to dispatch even a single delivery to the ropes and scored just 10 runs in the 22 balls he faced.
However, the match at Cape Town would hold a special place for MSD as he notched up his 400th dismissal in ODIs by stumping the Proteas stand-in skipper Aiden Markram just when he was looking to cash in.
Dhoni provided valuable inputs from behind the stumps to young Indian wrist spinners constantly to guide them through their matchwinning spells.
Dhoni, as usual, was both lightning and neat with the gloves.
Kedar Jadhav- 1.5/10
Much like Rahane, Pandya and MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav also gave his wicket away in only the third ball he faced while trying to guide the ball towards third man region.
All of a sudden, the Indian middle-order looks fragile which almost caused a collapse at the backend of the innings. His utilities with the ball weren’t utilized in the match.
That said, this was the first time Jadhav got an opportunity to bat in South Africa and one can hope that he would come up with better performance, coming in at the crucial number 6-7 position.
One may criticize the performance of Indian lower middle-order but one also must take into account that the players have largely remain untested throughout the series, thanks to some good work by the top-order.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 6.5/10:
Yet again with India’s back against the wall, Bhuvneshwar Kumar stood up to the occasion with the bat in hand with his crucial cameo at the death to support his captain at the other end, in dire need of a partnership to post a 300-run total.
His knock of 16 off 19 balls took India from 236-6 to 303-6, which poised massive psychological over the hosts.
With the ball, however, Bhuvi wasn’t able to pick up wickets with the new ball, a sight which Indians are so accustomed to watching. He was also the most expensive of a lot of Indian bowlers, going at 5.8 runs per over in his seven-over spell.
Kuldeep Yadav – 9.5/10:
Looking back at the South African reply, it was the first over from wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav which changed the entire momentum of the game. After putting on a steady partnership with Duminy, Markram misread the googly from Yadav and was stumped by MSD.
This caused the floodgates to open for the Indians as the South Africans could not last long since his introduction into the inning
Kuldeep ended up with four wickets and conceded only 23 runs at an impressive economy of 2.5, thereby, taking his tally to 10 wickets in the series.
The mystery behind the chinaman bowlers still haunts the South African batting line up who have looked pathetic until now in the series, unable to read the movements off the wrist or the pitch.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 9/10:
Chahal, after clinching his maiden five-wicket haul in the second One-dayer at Centurion, continued with his wicket-taking spree as he clinched four wickets- to wreck havoc in the South African camp.
With his spell of four for 46, Chahal took his tally to 11 wickets in the series as the two wrist-spinning duos are neck and neck when it comes to the list of leading wicket-takers in the series.
Interestingly, in first three outings, Chahal-Yadav shared 23 wickets, so far.
Just like the tale of the series, South African batsman had no answer to the two young wrist spinners.
Jasprit Bumrah – 8/10:
Jasprit Bumrah, yet again, spotted a weakness in Hashim Amla’s technique and took him out of the equation early on with an in-dipper which the right-hander could not negotiate. In fact, he clinched Amla’s wicket the very first delivery he bowled, giving no time for the South African opener to adjust.
The unorthodox bowler Bumrah came back in his second spell and delivered the knock-out punch by removing the last hope for the Protean- David Miller, to live up to his reputation of dismissing the giants from the opposition camp. He ended up with a couple of wicket in his seven-over spell.
It has been a remarkable all-round performance from India and did you think the strong-looking unit can rout the Proteas 6-0?
Follow ODI series here: SA vs IND, 2018