South Africa versus India 6th ODI review
Nowadays, whenever any team chooses to bat first against India in ODIs, it is practically choosing to die at the hands of Virat Kohli more often than not. Sadly South Africa in the 6th and final ODI did not have that choice; Kohli himself enforced the ordeal upon them.
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to field first stating that he wanted to test the team since the team may have to face such scenarios in future. India made one change to the team, bringing Mumbai fast bowler Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Entering the contest to regain their lost pride, South Africa made far too many changes to the team, four to be exact. Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris & Imran Tahir were included in the playing XI in place of JP Duminy, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada & Tabrez Shamsi.
Much like all other matches where South Africa batted first, the innings never took off. Thakur playing only his 3rd ODI removed South African openers when the score had reached only 43. AB De Villiers joined hands with Zondo and tried to force momentum in the innings as they attacked Indian bowlers.
The run-rate lingered at around two runs per over mark once De Villiers got out. Indian bowlers kept taking wickets at regular intervals much like what they have been doing for the whole series. Decent contributions from Morkel and Phehlukwayo at the end saw South Africa past 200 runs.
The target of 205 was never going to be enough especially against the Indian top three which has reigned supreme in the series so far. Although South Africa did manage to get Rohit Sharma out early, they could not break through Virat Kohli.
What separates Virat Kohli from every other current batsman is the inevitability about him scoring the runs. Kohli scoring a century seems as obvious as the Sun rising from the East. The ease with which he scores his runs is unmatched and incomparable.
The result was a win by 8 wickets. Kohli cruised to his 35th ODI century and soon smacked a straight drive that gave India the winning runs. In the process, he also broke the world record for scoring most runs in a bilateral ODI series. Kohli ended the series with 558 runs at an astronomical average of 186 runs per innings.
Except for the rain-curtailed match where South Africa really looked positive, they were outplayed by India in every other game. While batting they had no idea how to play wrist spin and while bowling they had no idea how to stop Kohli-Dhawan-Sharma.
South Africa convincingly won the Test series, India dominated the ODI series and the focus now shifts to T20 Cricket for one of the teams to claim this tour as theirs.
South Africa – 204 (Zondo 54, Phehlukwayo 34, Thakur 4/52)
India – 206/2 (Kohli 126*, Rahane 34*, Ngidi 2/54)
Man of the Match & Man of the Series – Virat Kohli
India won the ODI series 5-1.
South Africa Squad
Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram (c), AB de Villiers, Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Lungisani Ngidi
Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami