India beat South Africa by 73 runs to clinch maiden series win
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India beat South Africa by 73 runs to clinch maiden series win

India finally won an One Day International (ODI) series in South Africa. The visitors defeated the Proteas by 73 runs in the fifth one-day international at the St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth yesterday, to take a 4-1 lead in the six-match series.

India bowlers led by Kuldeep Yadav (4/57) and Hardik Pandya (2/30) bowled South Africa out for 201 in 42.2 overs, registering a comprehensive victory, after Rohit Sharma scored a hundred to help India set a challenging 275-run target. South Africa lost their last four wickets for five runs to the spin duo as India claimed a historic maiden series win.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2/43) also took two wickets for India, while Jasprit Bumrah (1/22) chipped in with a wicket. Hashim Amla top-scored for the hosts with 71 off 92 balls.

After a good start in their chase, South Africa lost three wickets in quick succession – AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Aiden Markram. Markram was in good nick and scored 32 off 32 balls which included a six and four boundaries. The Proteas skipper also put on 52 runs for the opening wicket with Amla, before giving a simple catch to his counterpart Virat Kohli at mid-off off Bumrah in the tenth over.

Seven balls later, Pandya dismissed Duminy in his first over, before landing the big wicket of de Villiers in the second. South Africa were reduced to 65/3 in 12.5 overs from 52/0 in 9.3. Amla and David Miller then resurrected the South African run chase by adding 62 for the fourth wicket. Miller (36 off 51 balls), while trying to increase the tempo, was clean bowled by Chahal in the 27th over.

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But unlike at Wanderers, South African batsmen found it tough to negotiate India’s wrist spinners – Yadav and Chahal. The spin duo gave away 100 runs in their 19.2 overs and took six wickets and along with Pandya, they squeezed the runs in the middle overs.

In the one end, Amla continued to keep South Africa in the hunt and scored his 35th ODI fifty off 72 balls, hitting three fours. Amla added 39 for the fifth wicket with Heinrich Klaasen, but his long vigil ended in an unfortunate way beaten by Pandya’s direct hit. And it ended South Africa’s hopes for a comeback in the match.

Earlier, after a series of dismal performances, scoring just 40 runs in first four ODIs, Rohit roared back to form and scored his 17th ODI hundred as India made 274/7 after sent in to bat. He smashed 11 fours and four sixes to score a classy 115 off 126 balls. Rohit added three crucial partnerships during his innings – 48 with Dhawan, 105 with Virat Kohli and 60 with Shreyas Iyer. But his untimely wicket in the 43rd over stopped India from reaching 300-mark.

Brief scores — India: 274/7 (Rohit Sharma 115; Lungi Ngidi 4/51) beat South Africa: 201 all out (Hashim Amla 71; Kuldeep Yadav 4/57) by 73 runs.

February 14, 2018

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