Quinton de Kock hits 124, SA complete ODI series rout against India
- Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, and later Deepak Chahar, raised hopes of a consolation win before the Proteas managed a four-run victory to sweep the series 3-0.
A miserable tour of South Africa ended for India with the Proteas clinching a pulsating four-run victory in the final ODI at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday, completing a 3-0 clean sweep. Quinton de Kock set it up once again scoring 124 to propel the hosts to 287. India’s chase had twists and turns, but the men in green had the last laugh although the game went into the final over.
If India came as close as they did, it was down to Deepak Chahar’s unlikely exploits with the bat. The seamer hit a 34-ball 54 and put together a partnership of 55 for the eighth wicket with Jasprit Bumrah, from a position where they had needed 65 from 47 balls with three wickets in hand. But with 10 needed from 18 balls, Chahar was out attempting another big shot off Lungi Ngidi. In his previous ODI six months ago, Chahar hit an unbeaten 69 to take India over the line against Sri Lanka.
Bumrah still believed he could get India across the line but his dismissal in the penultimate over pretty much sealed their fate. Yuzvendra Chahal was the last man dismissed as India ended on 283 in 49.2 overs.
The spotlight should be on India’s specialist batters though.
They lost skipper KL Rahul early in the chase, but Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli provided the base for the chase on a slow wicket with a 98-run stand for the second wicket. Dhawan has been in fine touch since landing in South Africa and did a lot of the early boundary-hitting, typically creating room by stepping down the track and hitting over the infield.
The chase seemed to be moving along steadily for India until Andile Phehlukwayo’s twin strikes in the 23rd over. Dhawan miscued a pull on 61 to offer a simple catch to de Kock and new batsman Rishabh Pant stepped out and smashed the first ball he faced to Sisanda Magala at sweeper cover.
Kohli’s run-chasing brain seemed to be ticking though. Could his two-year century drought finally come to an end? Kohli didn’t put a foot wrong until he reached 65, but spin caused his downfall for the third time in this series.
In left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj’s final over, he looked to nudge the ball to the leg side for a single. Extra turn and bounce, however, resulted in a leading edge that was caught by Temba Bavuma running backwards from covers. Kohli slammed his bat on the turf in frustration before trudging back to the dressing room. In his last 18 ODIs, he has crossed fifty 10 times without bringing up the three-figure mark.
By then, India were up against it with the asking rate exceeding 7 per over. Suryakumar Yadav showed what India had missed in the first two games with a spunky 32-ball 39, but the writing was on the wall once he was dismissed in the 40th over.
India’s tame effort was no match for South Africa’s batting, spearheaded again by De Kock. He once again showed how much he enjoys duels with India by registering his sixth ODI century against them, three of which had come in his first three innings against India at home in 2013.
While de Kock found the sweet spot of his bat from the outset, the onus was on the left-hander to rein himself in a bit after South Africa lost three wickets – Janneman Malan, Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram – within the first 13 overs.
At 70/3, South Africa were in a similar situation to the first ODI when they were 68/3. If Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen scripted the hosts' revival with a 204-run stand in Paarl, it was the turn of de Kock—named player of the match and series—to combine with van der Dussen in Cape Town. They unfurled a range of exquisite strokes in a partnership of 144 from 140 balls that was all too valuable in the final scheme of things.