India dominated proceedings at Centurion courtesy Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav © AFP
India dominated proceedings at Centurion courtesy Yuzvendra Chahal (R) and Kuldeep Yadav (second from right) © AFP

India continued to dominate in the six-ODI series versus South Africa at Centurion. Electing to bowl on a hard and grassy surface, India spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — ran riot with their wrist spin. South Africa batsmen showed no resistance, failing to read the wrong ‘uns and getting trapped to tossed-up deliveries. As a result, chasing 119, India cruised past by 9 wickets.

Dhawan slams another fifty, Kohli remains unbeaten

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan commenced the paltry chase by playing their shots. Rohit was looking in good touch, but soon fell prey to Kagiso Rabada. It was banged in short, and Rohit wasn’t in the greatest of positions to play the pull shot. He was cramped for room but still persisted with the shot  and holed out to deep fine-leg.

There was no issue whatsoever for Kohli and Dhawan. The pair stitched an unbeaten stand of 93 runs for the second wicket, to add to South Africa’s humiliation. There was minimal effort from the bowlers and fielders. While South Africa remained sloppy, their bowlers drifted onto the pads and hurled too short. Kohli and Dhawan rotated the strike when necessary and pounced on the loose deliveries.

Why not experiment? 

However, what Kohli could have done was to experiment with the batting lineup and promote someone like Dhoni (who is not just there for the winning shots) or Ajinkya Rahane.

The script is written much earlier

The damage was done much earlier. Kohli knew the pitch would be favourable for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, and decided to bowl first. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, having staggering numbers at the venue, got off to a good start. Amla soon became the highest run-scorer at Centurion, surpassing Graeme Smith. Some of Amla’s cover drives were a treat to the eyes.

However, Bhuvneshwar angled one in and cut short Amla’s stay by inducing an inside edge. His dismissal became MS Dhoni’s 399th ODI dismissal. The slide began from thereon. From 51 for 1, they were reduced to 51 for 4. In addition, South Africa slipped from 99 for 4 to 118 all-out.

The breakthroughs came in abundance for Chahal and Kuldeep. They kept it simple. The duo resorted to quicker ones, injected enough flight for enticing the batsmen and deceived them by pace. Chahal, in the process, earned his maiden five-for, giving away a mere 22 runs. This was South Africa’s second-lowest score against India and the lowest at home. Their lowest score versus India remains 117 at Nairobi (1999).

Brief scores

South Africa 118 in 32.2 overs (JP Duminy 25, Khaya Zondo 25; Yuzvendra Chahal 5 for 22, Kuldeep Yadav 3 for 20) lost to India 119 for 1 in 20.3 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 51*, Rohit Sharma 15, Virat Kohli 46*; Kagiso Rabada 1 for 24) by 9 wickets.