Virat Kohli peeled off yet another century as India defeated South Africa by six wickets in the first ODI of the six-match series to take 1-0 lead at Kingsmead, Durban on Thursday. India chased down 270 in 45.3 overs thanks to a measured century from Kohli, his first limited-overs ton in South Africa, who was out after scoring 112 off 119.
It was India’s first ever win in ODIs over South Africa in Durban and in the process they also broke the hosts’ run of 17 consecutive wins at home.
Ajinkya Rahane also played a solid knock, scoring 79 – his fifth straight half-century in ODIs, equalling the Indian record jointly held by Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli [twice].
India began on a positive note but both openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were out after getting starts. Rohit miscued a shot on 20 to be caught by ‘keeper Quinton de Kock off Morne Morkel. His partner Dhawan cut an angry figure sitting in the Indian dressing room after being run out on 35.
Kohli called for a non-existent single in the 13th over of Indian chase as Dhawan inside edged one onto his pads. However, before he could react, Kohli was halfway down the pitch and Aiden Markram’s direct hit caught Dhawan well short of the crease at the non-striker’s end.
India were 67/2 when Kohli and Rahane joined hands and together they steered the India innings in the forward direction. The duo added a record 189 runs for the third wicket before being separated in the 43rd over when Rahane, aiming to finish the game early, ended up being caught at long-on. His innings had five fours and two sixes.
Brief Scores: India 270/4 (Virat Kohli 112, Ajinkya Rahane 79) beat South Africa 269/8 (Faf du Plessis 120; Kuldeep Yadav 3/34) by six wickets
Kohli departed two overs later but not before he had played a thoroughly entertaining knock studded with 10 fours. He reached the three-figure mark with a four and celebrated his 33rd ODI ton animatedly – in his own inimitable style. MS Dhoni finished the chase in style with a four as India won with over four overs to spare and six wickets remaining.
Earlier, Faf du Plessis scored his ninth century as South Africa recovered to post a competitive 269/8. India spinners applied the brakes in the middle overs to reduce South Africa to 134/5 at one stage before captain Du Plessis (120) led the recovery. He was involved in the two highest partnerships of the South Africa innings. He first added 53 runs for the second wicket with Quinton de Kock (34) after Jasprit Bumrah gave India an early breakthrough in Hashim Amla (16).
The Indian spinners did well to never allow the South African top-order to settle after the hosts opted to bat with Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav keeping the pressure on their batsmen by bowling tight overs. Between them, the middle-order trio of Markram, JP Duminy and the big-hitting David Miller could only manage 28 runs as South Africa continued to slip. Du Plessis, though, continued to bat solidly and finally found an able ally in allrounder Chris Morris who scored a handy 37 before becoming Kuldeep’s third victim who eventually finished with 3/34.
On the other hand legspinner Chahal returned figures of 2/45 with Bumrah (1/56) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/71) chipping in with a wicket each.
Du Plessis struck 11 fours and two sixes during his knock and finally holed out in the last over of the South Africa innings to Hardik Pandya off Bhuvneshwar. However, India were simply too good for them on Thursday night with Kohli recording his 18th century in successful chases.
South Africa 269/8 (50.0 ov)R/R: 5.38
|Quinton de Kock (W)
lbw b Yuzvendra Chahal
lbw b Jasprit Bumrah
|Faf du Plessis (C)
c Hardik Pandya b Bhuvneshwar Kumar
c Hardik Pandya b Yuzvendra Chahal
b Kuldeep Yadav
c Virat Kohli b Kuldeep Yadav
b Kuldeep Yadav
run out (MS Dhoni)
(b – 0, w – 2, no – 1, lb – 3, penalty – 0)
|Total||269 (5.38 runs per over)|
India 270/4 (45.3 ov)R/R: 5.93
c Quinton de Kock b Morne Morkel
run out (Aiden Markram)
|Virat Kohli (C)
c Kagiso Rabada b Andile Phehlukwayo
c Imran Tahir b Andile Phehlukwayo
|MS Dhoni (W)
(b – 0, w – 11, no – 0, lb – 6, penalty – 0)
|Total||270 (5.93 runs per over)|
Virat Kohli, Man of the Match:
Yeah it was quite special. We wanted to take the confidence from Jo’Burg to here. We wanted one good partnership. Very very happy for Jinks as well. It is easier to break down the total when you have a number on the board. I like to understand the game. I had never scored an ODI hundred in South Africa. Thus, the celebration. It was my knee but my groin took the impact(talking about his injury when India were fielding). The outfield for me was quite dangerous. I am ok now. Bhuvi and Bumrah again, we bank on them. The two wrist spinners have been making the difference for us. Having two wrist spinners I mentioned in the press conference is a huge advantage. It augurs well for the team when you have two fearless youngsters. They set their own field as well. They will have to keep this going for the rest of the series. Jinks has a good technique and he took the confidence from the last game and never had doubts in his mind. He batted positively and I could solidify the situation from the other end. Hats off to him, he was outstanding.
Faf du Plessis: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.