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.
Some players have a great mutual understanding between them, especially when it comes to running between the wickets. They automatically understand their partner’s body language and signals. It’s safe to say Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli don’t fall in that category.
Tuesday’s run out during India’s ODI against South Africa in Port Elizabeth was the seventh occasion Rohit and Kohli have been involved in a run out. That’s the second worst record by any pair in ODIs in the last decade behind the South African duo of AB de Villiers-Faf du Plessis and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan who have been involved in eight apiece.
Out of those seven instances, Kohli has been forced to walk back to the pavilion on five occasions with the fifth being Tuesday’s ODI.
While the run outs have proven costly for Kohli, they have been extremely lucky, in a way, for Rohit.
Life's inevitabilities.— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) February 13, 2018
Pani Puri juice falling on your shirt.
Kohli & Rohit Sharma run out.
The India opener has cashed in every time he has run Kohli out in ODIs. The first time Rohit ran Kohli out, the Mumbai batsman ended up making 57 against the West Indies in Kingston in 2011. Two years later, another mix-up ended on a good note for Rohit as he smashed 209 against Australia in Bengaluru. History repeated itself in 2014 as Rohit ran Kohli out against Sri Lanka in Kolkata and went on to become the only player in history to score two ODI double tons with his knock of 264.
In 2016 against the Aussies in Brisbane, Rohit scored 124 after running the current skipper out and the ‘lucky’ trend continued in South Africa on Tuesday where the Mumbai opener hit the 17th century of his ODI career with a classy 115.
So in the future if Rohit is ever out of form, needs to score big and finds Kohli at the other end, he knows what to do.
Wicketkeeper MS Dhoni has done it all on the cricket field, captaining India to all three major ICC titles and taking the team to the No1 spot in Tests. Now playing purely as a wicketkeeper batsman, the 36-year-old has two other major milestones in his sights as India play the fifth ODI of their series against South Africa on Tuesday.
Not only will Dhoni look to help India win the match in Port Elizabeth that will give them a first ODI series win in South Africa, he will also aim to get the 46 runs he needs to become just the 12th man in ODI history to score 10,000 runs.
As and when Dhoni scores the required runs, the wicketkeeper will be the only batsman in the 10,000-run club with an average of more than 50. He currently averages 51.5 from 316 matches. The next best on the list is Sachin Tendulkar who scored 18,426 runs from 463 matches at 44.8.
The Jharkhand player has another record within reach. Dhoni is five away from 300 catches in ODI cricket. With seamers and spinners among the wickets during the ongoing series, there is a good chance of Dhoni reaching the milestone on Tuesday.