India opener Rohit Sharma declared India will target a 5-1 series win after clinching the ODI leg of their South Africa tour with a 73-run win in the fifth match in Port Elizabeth.
Rohit ended a personal South African hoodoo and set up a series win at St George’s Park on Tuesday. His 115 was his first major innings in three tours of South Africa and helped India take a winning 4-1 lead in the six-match encounter, their first success in seven bilateral series in South Africa.
“Every game that we play is important, irrespective of whether we have won the series or not,” Rohit said after the win.
“Every game that you play for your country is important. We will approach that game in the same manner that we approached the last five games. It is important to keep doing the right things because it doesn’t happen very often in South Africa that you are 4-1 up and we will definitely try to make it 5-1 at Centurion.”
South Africa’s chances of overhauling India’s 274 for seven plummeted when they lost their first three wickets inside the first 13 overs. Hardik Pandya struck crucial blows by dismissing JP Duminy and AB de Villiers.
Hashim Amla played a measured innings of 71 and shared partnerships of 62 with David Miller and 39 with Heinrich Klaasen. He was run out by a direct hit from Pandya, effectively ending the home team’s hopes.
Indian wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were effective on a slow pitch, taking four and two wickets respectively.
Rohit’s 17th ODI century ended a run of low scores in South Africa. In 19 previous innings across both Tests and ODIs, his highest score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an average of 13.11.
Last time India was in SA their spinners picked 2 wickets in 3 matches. This time they got 30 in 5. Massive middle overs impact the deciding factor. Congratulations team India! 👏👏👏— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 13, 2018
The Mumbai batsman said he had ensured that he stayed in a good frame of mind despite not making big scores. “I have been enjoying South Africa. It’s a good place to play cricket. I knew I didn’t have to change a lot and the runs would come,” he said.
With the series won, using only 12 of India’s 17-man squad, captain Virat Kohli said: “We want to win 5-1 but there might be a scenario to give a few (other) guys a chance.”
Although he was the mainstay of the innings, Rohit was at least partially complicit in two run-outs, both of which happened after he sent his batting partner back.
The first run-out accounted for Kohli, who made 36 – his lowest score of the series – in a second wicket stand of 105. Kohli called Sharma through for a risky single, then could not beat JP Duminy’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.
Ajinkya Rahane was the second run-out victim, playing a ball to mid-on and almost reaching the other end of the pitch before realising Sharma had refused the run.
Sharma hit 11 fours and four sixes in his 126-ball innings but should have been caught on 96 when Tabraiz Shamsi dropped a straightforward chance at third man off Kagiso Rabada.
South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada was fined 15 per cent of his match fee and handed one demerit point for the send-off he gave India batsman Shikhar Dhawan during the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth.
Rabada was found guilty of a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct. The incident happened in the eighth over of India’s innings when Rabada, after dismissing Dhawan, waved at the departing batsman and pointed to the dressing room. Dhawan made 34 as India won the match by 73-runs to take a winning 4-1 lead in the ODI series.
According to an ICC press release, Rabada “also made a comment which could have resulted in a reaction from the batsman.”
The South African quick now has five demerit points on his record after receiving three demerit points against Sri Lanka in an ODI in February last year and one during the Lord’s Test in July.
At that point, Rabada was suspended from the Trent Bridge Test against England after his accumulated points reached four following the Lord’s incident. After the latest error, Rabada is on thin ice as he faces more time away from the field if he is found guilty again.
The ICC statement added: “If Rabada reaches the next threshold of eight or more demerit points within a 24-month period, he will be suspended again from either two Tests; one Test and two ODIs/T20Is; or four ODIs/T20Is, whichever comes first for the player.”
India defeated South Africa convincingly in the fifth match of the ODI series in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday to not only secure their first ever bilateral series win in the rainbow nation but also climb to the top of the ODI rankings table.
India took their points tally to 122 in ODI rankings after their comfortable 73-run win against the Proteas – the side they overtook to reach the top spot.
Virat Kohli’s side, already the top-ranked Test team in the world, are currently placed third in the T20 rankings and are five points behind table toppers Pakistan who have 126. While that is a massive gap which is unlikely to be covered in the three-match T20 series against South Africa which follows the ODI clash, Kohli’s men can realistically hope to go for the top spot in T20s as well sometime this year. However, New Zealand (122 points) and Australia (121) are currently fighting it out in a T20 tri-series and will also be vying for the top spot with India.
South Africa were the first side to be crowned the No1 side in all three formats at the same time. They managed the feat in 2012. And if India continue their fine form in all formats, they can hope to emulate the Proteas.
Earlier, India’s series clinching win was set up by Rohit Sharma who ended his barren run in South Africa with a fine century.
India win the series and make it only the second instance of an Asian side winning an ODI series in South Africa.— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) February 13, 2018
With this victory, India have also ensured their stay at number one in the ODI Rankings after the series. #RSAvInd
The opener had failed to pass fifty in four Tests and as many ODI innings while he was arguably the guilty party as both prolific captain Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were run out after India were inserted in to bat.
But Rohit was able to underpin India’s 274-7, taking advantage of being dropped on 96 to bring up three figures for the first time in any format on South African soil, as he posted 11 fours and four sixes in his 115 from 126 deliveries.
In the chase, three quick wickets tilted the balance in India’s favour and South Africa’s hopes of closing the gap in the series to 3-2 seemed to dissipate when Amla was run out after a becalmed 71 from 92 balls.
Kuldeep Yadav took three wickets in four balls as the Proteas were all out for 201 in 42.2 overs to lose by 73 runs, leaving India to celebrate an unassailable 4-1 lead and their first ODI series victory in South Africa.