South Africa continued to remain unbeaten in pink odis as newcomer Heinrich Klaasen starred with the bat to help his side beat India by 5 wickets in a rain curtailed tie in Johannesburg. The win also meant that South Africa stayed alive in the six-match series.
Riding on century from Shikhar Dhawan and yet another half-century from Virat Kohli, India posted a decent total of 289/7 in their designated 50 overs.
Then, 7 overs into chase, bad weather forced the players off and reduced South Africa’s target to 202 from 28 overs.
Amla and Duminy resumed proceedings, but Kuldeep removed both of them in quick succession and it seemed spinners would continue to haunt the Proteas.
De Villiers decided to attack the spinners, and took 16 runs from Chahal’s first over as South Africa started going for their shots.
When Pandya removed de Villiers for a quickfire 26, it looked as if India might come back into the game.
But then, Klaasen and Miller put together 72-runs to take the game away from the visitors.
Some luck and unorthodox aggressive batting was the key for South Africa as they hit the spinners for total of 119 runs in 11.3 overs,
Chahal had dismissed Miller on 6 but replays showed that the leg-spinner had overstepped. Miller made full use of the second chance as he ended up 39 off 28 balls.
But some pre-meditated hitting from Klaasen was the key as he remained unbeaten on 43, guiding his team home.
Phehlukwayo also smashed 23 off 5 balls as South Africa reached the target with 5 wickets to spare.
Credit must be given the South African bowlers as they pulled the match back in stunning style in the dying overs of the game and restricted India to under 300.
Once again, the visitors didn’t enjoy the best of starts as opener Rohit Sharma (5) was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada early on in the innings. That brought two in-form batsmen — Dhawan and Kohli — at the crease and the duo started to dominate the South African bowlers in the same fashion as did in the second and third ODIs, respectively.
In no time, the duo helped India cross the 50-run mark and started to cut loose after that. Dhawan — who was playing in his 100th ODI — was the first to complete his half-century and skipper Kohli soon followed suit as they notched up their second successive 100-run stand of the series.
The duo continued to deal in boundaries and in no time their partnership surpassed the 150-run mark, much to the delight of the travelling fans. But just when it seemed like India were moving towards a huge score, the hosts got the crucial wicket of Kohli, who was sent back into the hut for 75 by Chris Morris.
Shikhar Dhawan then raced away to his 13th ODI ton in his landmark 100th ODI and thus becoming the first Indian to reach this milestone and ninth overall. But Before Dhawan could further inflict any damage on the hosts, lightning stopped play in the 34.2 overs, with India’s score reading 200/2.
Following the resumption of play, Dhawan was the first to depart as Morne Morkel got rid of him for 109. Ajinkya Rahane too fell shortly as he dismissed by Lungi Ngidi for 8. From 178/1, the visitors slipped to 210/4 and the South African bowlers were firmly on top at this moment.
Shreyas Iyer and MS Dhoni then joined forced in the middle and the duo added 37 runs for the fifth wicket to steady the Indian ship. But Iyer’s short innings came to an end as he was dismissed for 18 by Ngidi, who scalped his second wicket of the innings.
Hardik Pandya (9) was the next to depart as he became Rabada’s second wicket of the day. A late flourish from Dhoni (42) ensured India gave their bowlers a good target to defend on this relatively good batting surface.