New Delhi : India thrashed South Africa by 73 runs in the fifth ODI to secure the series at Port Elizabeth’s St George’s Park on Tuesday. They now lead the six-game rubber 4-1, and with this win they have also officially become the number one ODI team in the world, going past South Africa.
India’s first win in six outings in Port Elizabeth also brought about their first bilateral ODI series victory in the rainbow nation.
After being put into bat by Aiden Markram, the tourists posted 274/7 thanks largely to Rohit Sharma’s 17th ton (115). The second-wicket 105-run stand between Rohit and Virat Kohli (36 off 54 balls) set the tone for the Indian win, after the former and Dhawan (34) had given the visitors a 48-run start.
At one time, the Indians were on course for a 300+total but lost the plot in the last 10 overs as they scored just 55 runs in that period. That gave South Africa a glimmer of hope.
The hosts got a good start but the Indian bowlers came back into the game and helped the team bowl out the Proteas for just 201 in 42.2 overs with Kuldeep Yadav taking 4/57.
Hardik Pandya failed terribly as a batsman with a first-ball duck but later made up for that with his excellent bowling.
Although Jasprit Bumrah broke the first-wicket 52-run stand between Hashim Amla and Markram with the latter’s wicket for 32, it was Pandya’s wickets of JP Duminy (1) and AB de Villiers (6) in back-to-back overs that completely turned the tide in India’s favour.
Later he also ran out Amla with a direct throw for 71 to douse whatever little hopes the hosts had.
The Indian spinners came back into prominence after the licking they had got in Johannesburg. Kuldeep, who was the best Indian bowler on the day, picked up three wickets in an over, while Yuzvendra Chahal chipped in with two wickets to facilitate India’s cause a great deal.
Rohit well and truly silenced his critics with this ton. Prior to this match, he had lowly scores of 20, 15, 0 and 5 in the previous four matches, with fast bowler Kagiso Rabada getting the better of him thrice. But today he batted like a man possessed and smashed 11 fours and four sixes during his 126-ball innings.
The sixth and last game of the series will be played at Centurion’s SuperSport Park on Friday.