India's next target is top spot in all three formats at the same time

Sudhir Gupta 13:26 14/02/2018
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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.

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.

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