South Africa maintain their unbeaten record in Pink ODIs
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Writer
4th ODI: South Africa vs India at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, Feb 10, 2018, Cricket highlights
The Pink ODI and the return of AB de Villiers worked wonderfully well for the Proteas, as they won the fourth ODI by 5 wickets (D/L method) and kept their hopes alive of drawing the series. Luck played a huge part in their win, but one can’t take the credit away from Heinrich Klassen and David Miller. The two laid an all-out assault on the Indian spinners and by stitching a match-winning partnership of 72 runs (off just 41 balls), helped their team to chase down the revised target of 202 in just 25.3 overs. For the first time in the series, Chahal and Kuldeep took a beating as they were hammered for 119 runs in 11.3 overs.
Electing to bat first, India were once again off to a terrific start, courtesy of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. In the last match, they were involved in a 140-run partnership and this time around, they even bettered it by adding 158 runs for the second wicket. Even though the Proteas bowlers bowled tight spells during the middle overs, the duo was still able to score runs at 6 RPO. They played some delightful shots during the partnership and one such shot by Kohli, where he came down the track to loft Lungi Ngidi for a six over long-on caught everyone’s attention.
Dhawan, who was playing his 100th ODI, continued his remarkable form and probably played one of his best knocks. Every time he was tested by the short deliveries, he answered them by playing the pull shots to perfection. On a couple of occasions, he even played the flick shots off his pads to deposit the ball into the stands. Luck was also with Dhawan as there were quite a few times when the inside edge eluded the stumps.
The massive partnership was finally broken by Chris Morris, who got rid of the Indian captain. The wicket was a result of the pressure created by the Proteas as they had conceded just 12 runs in 4 overs (28-31). Kohli, in trying to force a shot over extra-cover, gave a simple catch to Miller at cover and was out for 75.
A couple of overs later, Dhawan reached the three-figure mark and became the first Indian (9th overall) to slam a hundred in his 100th ODI. It was really a special innings from the southpaw, but his job was still not over. India needed him to carry on and bat till the 40-45th over. However, that didn’t happen.
Once the play resumed after the players were taken off due to lightning, Dhawan gave his wicket away in trying to play an expansive lofted drive over mid-off. Rahane was out in the very next over, which resulted in the momentum shifting away from India.
South Africa’s bowlers were simply outstanding in the last 10 overs as they didn’t give any room to the Indian batsmen to free their arms. The deliveries were either full or short of a length – hardly anything in the hitting zone. Their fielding was also brilliant and leading from the front was their captain, Aiden Markram, who pulled off an absolute screamer to get rid of Hardik Pandya.
When Dhawan and Kohli were going great guns, it looked like India will get past the 300-run mark quite comfortably, but the terrific comeback by the South African bowlers restricted the visitors to 289.
During the chase, South Africa were off to a solid start as their openers added 43 runs in the first 7 overs. The Indian seamers were a bit unlucky to not pick up a wicket during that period as the ball flew past the vacant slip cordon on at least two occasions. The partnership was looking good from South Africa’s perspective, but it was broken right at the stroke of another interruption – due to lightning – as Bumrah trapped Markram plumb in front.
Rain also arrived with the lightning and as a result of the long delay, the match was reduced to 28 overs. The revised target for the Proteas was 202, which meant they needed 159 to get from 20.4 overs. From here on, it was more of a T20 contest.
The Indian bowlers started off well after the break and gave away just 39 runs in seven overs. Kuldeep Yadav also picked up the wickets of JP Duminy and Hashim Amla to push South Africa on the back foot. However, the big threat was still out there. Unlike the previous three ODIs, the middle-order had the presence of ABD this time around. The maestro made his intentions very clear when he smacked Yuzvendra Chahal for a couple of massive sixes in the leggie’s first over. Fortunately for India, ABD got himself out when he flicked a leg-side delivery from Pandya straight to deep square-leg.
At this point, India had a slight upper hand and they could have also strengthened their grip on the match, had they got Miller back into the pavilion. But a dropped catch by Shreyas Iyer and a no-ball by Chahal (off which Miller was bowled) turned the complexion of the match. Miller punished the Indian bowlers for the two let-offs and along with Klassen, took the match away from them. The spin-twins, who were so effective in the previous matches, had no answer to the assault laid by the South African pair. It was a bad day in the office for both of them and India would hope that they learn from this experience and come back strongly in the next two matches.
Kohli’s captaincy was also a bit baffling as he didn’t bring Bumrah and Bhuvi back into the attack even when his spinners were going for runs. Chahal did manage to get Miller out finally, but it was all too late for the Indian team. With only 26 needed off the last 4 overs, Klassen (43*) and Phelukwayo – who smacked 23 off just 5 balls – finished off the job and steered their team to victory with 15 balls to spare. By winning this contest, South Africa also kept their unbeaten record in Pink ODIs intact.