WATCH: Deepak Chahar in tears after his fighting 34-ball 54 against South Africa goes in vain
- IND vs SA: Playing his first game of the tour, Deepak Chahar notched his second ODI fifty and hit five 4s and two 6s but India fell short by four runs.
Deepak Chahar was in tears after India fell short by a whisker, losing the third and final ODI against South Africa by four runs, also suffering a 3-0 whitewash in the Rainbow Nation. A valiant batting show from Chahar, which had the bowling all-rounder hit 54 off 34 deliveries to shift the momentum in India's favour, was cut short by Lungi Ngidi in the 48th over.
Chasing 288 for victory, the Indian innings witnessed another slump after Chahar's exit as Jasprit Bumrah (12) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2) perished at a gallop. A four-run defeat was the end result, as South Africa completed a series sweep in the 50-over contest.
Playing his first match of the tour, Chahar notched his second ODI fifty and hit five fours and 2 maximums en route to the landmark. But his knock came to an end after he sliced a catch to cover off Ngidi as the contest titled heavily in favour of the Proteas.
A visibly disheartened Chahar was spotted in tears after the result, which in all likelihood could have gone in India's favour if they had wickets in hand. The 29-year-old had previously shown a glimpse of his batting prowess against Sri Lanka, scoring a match-winning 69 from 82 deliveries in Colombo last year.
Skipper KL Rahul also lavished praise about Chahar and his presence at the crease. "Deepak gave us a real chance of winning the game. Quite an exciting game, just disappointed we ended up on the losing side. We gave ourselves a real chance, something we can learn from and get better," said the Indian captain in the post-match presentation.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan (61) and Virat Kohli (65) kept India in the game with a second-wicket stand of 98. Dhawan fell to Andile Phelukwayo, which was followed by Rishabh Pant's departure for a golden duck. Kohli was steadily moving towards his much-awaited 71st international ton but was caught at cover off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.
Things got a bit tricky for India after the experienced pair's exit, and an inexperienced middle-order was put to the test again. Suryakumar Yadav hit 39 off 32 balls but his dismissal exposed the Indian tail, which was unable to withstand the pressure. Shreyas Iyer also failed to get going, perishing after scoring a 34-ball 26.
For South Africa, Quinton de Kock, who handed over the white ball captaincy last March to Temba Bavuma, made 124 off 130 balls , making batting look easy on the Newlands wicket. The left-handed batter was named player of the match and player of the series.