Centurion: Indian skipper Virat Kohli continued to stamp his authority over world cricket, easing his way to his 35th ODI hundred as India trounced South Africa by eight wickets after the bowlers had restricted the hosts to a low total at the Supersport Park on Saturday.
Scoring hundreds has become more of a regular job for him as the 29-year-old finished the six-match series with a whopping 558 runs-the highest in a bilateral series so far. Also, this was only the second time that the Proteas have lost five ODIs in a series after they 5-1 loss to Australia in 2002. Kohli was named the Man of the Match and also the Man of the Series.
Shardul Thakur, who played his first match in South Africa, replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar also put up a splendid show with the ball, grabbing four wickets to skittle the hosts for just 204 runs in 46.5 overs.
Opting to bowl first after winning the toss, Thakur set the tone for the innings as he dismissed both openers- Hashim Amla (10) and Aiden Markram (24) in a short amount of time. But Khaya Zondo, who replaced JP Duminy, added 62 runs for the fourth wicket with AB de Villiers, who scored 30 of 34 balls before the woodwork behind him was disturbed by Yuzvendra Chahal.
But Zondo’s resistance was all that the hosts required to stay in the game as the right-handed batsman scored a gritty 54. Unfortunately, he kept on running out of partners at the other end, courtesy the Indian bowling unit, which, much like the other matches have been too hot to handle for the hosts.
Nonetheless, contributions from Andile Phehlukwayo (34) and Morne Morkel (20) helped South Africa cross the 200-run mark and fittingly, it was Thakur (4/52), who ensured that they added just four more runs to finish their innings on 204.
In reply, India lost Rohit Sharma early to Lungi Ngidi while attempting a pull shot. Shikhar Dhawan (18) along with skipper Kohli, then took India to a safe position at 80/2, before the former picked Zondo at backward point.
But Kohli (129*), who has been batting in a different level altogether mixed aggression with caution as he shared a 126-run stand with Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 34 runs from 50 balls. The skipper’s knock comprised of 19 fours and two huge sixes, which made the match all the more one-sided.
Ngidi, who had dismissed both the Indian openers was the most successful bowler for the hosts with figures of 2/54.
India 206/2 in 32.1 overs (Virat Kohli 129*, Ajinkya Rahane 34*; Lungi Ngidi 2/54) beat South Africa 204 all out in 46.5 overs (Khaya Zondo 54, Andile Phehlukwayo 34; Shardul Thakur 4/52) by 8 wickets.