Kohli buoyed by historic win

- Agencies, PORT ELIZABETH

Feb 15, 2018-

India’s first ever one-day international (ODI) series victory in South Africa has laid a strong platform for the country’s hopes of a successful 2019 World Cup campaign, captain Virat Kohli said.

“We are a team that always wants to think of ways we can improve and after this tour we will look be to even stronger with the 2019 World Cup in mind,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s a wonderful feeling to have created some history. The guys really got stuck in, with the bat and the ball and in the field as well,” he added after the Port Elizabeth win.

India’s win was set up by 115 from opener Rohit Sharma—his first significant score of the tour—and sealed by wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the standout bowlers in the series and constant thorns in the side of the South African batsmen. India’s first success in ODIs in South Africa also came with a game to spare. 

The tourists could stamp their dominance even further with a potential 5-1 win over the team that was ranked No 1 at the start of the series. India are now top-ranked in ODIs and they retained their No 1 status in Tests as well despite losing 2-1 to the South Africans last month. India have won nine straight series, and last lost one in Australia in early 2016.

“For now, 4-1 feels amazing. Obviously the players put up some really good cricket to be in this position,” Kohli added. The 2019 World Cup is being hosted by England and Wales, where India won their first global title in 1983 before adding a second on home soil in 2011. 

India’s only failure in South Africa came in the fourth ODI, when South Africa took advantage in a rain-shortened game to pull one back and make it 3-1. That kept the home team alive, only for India to snuff out their hopes of drawing the series with a clinical win on Tuesday.

Following the disappointment of losing the Test series, India have bounced back to win five of the last six games in all formats. That’s more like the standard of performance expected of an India team that arrived in South Africa at the end of December with a big reputation under Kohli, arguably the best batsman in the world.

In Port Elizabeth, it was Sharma’s turn to lead India’s batting. His century, with 11 fours and four sixes, took India to 274-7 after being asked to bat first by South Africa. South Africa could only manage 201 all out in 42.2 overs in their chase, with Yadav taking 4-57 and Chahal 2-43. Hashim Amla made 71 to keep South Africa hoping, but he was run out by a tiny margin with a direct hit from Hardik Pandya at mid-off in the 35th over and South Africa capitulated after that.

India’s series win was built on two key areas. The top three of Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli contributed four centuries, three half-centuries and nearly 900 runs between them in the five games. And Yadav and Chahal completely controlled proceedings with their slow bowling to share 30 wickets in five matches.

South Africa had won 17 straight ODIs at home before India swept to a 3-0 lead in this series, and ultimately their first series win in South Africa. India haven’t been regular visitors to South Africa for ODI series, but had waited since 1992 to win one here. 

“This obviously hurts the guys a hell of a lot so we’re going to look to bounce back and at least end the one-day series on a positive note,” South Africa captain Aiden Markram said. 

The last match of the ODI series is in Pretoria on Friday.

 

Summary

India 274-7 in 50 overs (R Sharma 115, V Kohli 36; L Ngidi 4-51, K Rabada 1-58) beat South Africa 201 in 42.2 overs (H Amla 71, H Klaasen 39; K Yadav 4-57, H Pandya 2-30, Y Chahal 2-43) by 73 runs; Man-of-the-match: R Sharma (IND)

Published: 15-02-2018 10:17

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