Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
BAN v SL (1)
SLCD-XI in ENG (1)
County DIV1 (4)
County DIV2 (4)
South Africa 287 (de Kock 124, van der Dussen 52, Prasidh 3-59) beat India 283 (Kohli 65, Dhawan 61, Chahar 54, Phehlukwayo 3-40, Ngidi 3-58) by four runs
Three-nil, and job well and truly done for South Africa. Their clean sweep over India in the ODIs was completed on the back of a chanceless century from Quinton de Kock and a chancy but classy half-century from Rassie van der Dussen, which carried the hosts to 287 despite a late collapse of 7 for 73. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli then set up India's chase with fifties, but neither could convert it into a big one. And though No. 7 Deepak Chahar threatened to flip the script with a barrage of boundaries in a knock of 54 off 34 balls - his second successive fifty in ODI cricket - South Africa's seamers held their nerve and closed out the match.
Dwaine Pretorius, picked in place of left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, was tasked with defending five off the last over, with India's last-wicket pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna in the middle. After Prasidh pinched a single first ball, Chahal went for the glory hit and spliced a catch to cover-point, India losing by four runs with four balls unused in their chase.
Chahar had entered in the 38th over, at the fall of Shreyas Iyer's wicket, with India still needing 93 off 77 balls. Two overs later, Suryakumar Yadav spooned a leading edge to mid-off and Jayant Yadav holed out soon after, but Chahar gave India enough reason to hope.
Chahar has opened the batting for his state team Rajasthan in India's domestic 20-over tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and is rated highly for his batting by his Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming. At the Premadasa Stadium in July last year, he pulled off a heist from No. 8, helping India overhaul Sri Lanka's 275.
At various points on Sunday, Chahar looked like he could pull off another heist. After being on 20 off 17 balls, he sized up Pretorius' cutters and walloped him for back-to-back sixes. When Lungi Ngidi missed his yorkers, Chahar carved him for back-to-back fours. He notched up a 31-ball fifty, but just when the target was seemingly within India's grasp, he was undone by Ngidi's slower ball in the 48th over. India needed ten off 17 balls at that point, but they blew it under pressure.
That India made a decent fist of the chase was also down to a 98-run partnership between Dhawan and Kohli. Dhawan had a rickety start, failing to latch onto three full tosses from Pretorius in his first over, but found a way to manufacture scoring opportunities by taking regular trips down the pitch. He stepped out to slam Pretorius for six over mid-on and went onto score 24 off 25 balls from the seamer.
Kohli, too, often stepped out or across his stumps to inject more urgency into the innings. However, once the ball grew older, the likes of Sisanda Magala and Andile Phehlukwayo regularly took pace off the ball and exploited the Newlands track. So, Kohli cut out risks and accumulated his way to 65 off 83 balls. Left-arm fingerspinner Keshav Maharaj, the most economical bowler on the day, then coaxed a leading edge from Kohli that was pouched by Temba Bavuma running back from cover-point.
Iyer flickered briefly, as did Suryakumar, and Chahar caught fire at the end, but South Africa's seamers eventually extinguished India. Phehlukwayo had a major role in India's slide, snagging both Dhawan and Rishabh Pant (a first-ball duck) in his second over. He returned to have Jasprit Bumrah caught by Bavuma in the penultimate over.
With the series already conceded and no Super League points up for grabs, India had started the day well, taking two wickets in the powerplay, but de Kock was his breezy self, claiming 34 of the 53 the hosts had scored in the first ten overs. By the time de Kock had got to his fifty in the 18th over, South Africa were 93 for 3. Jayant, playing his second ODI in place of R Ashwin, found biting turn and bounce to challenge South Africa. de Kock, however, messed with the offspinner's length - and head - by launching a six over his head and reverse-sweeping a four past slip.
van der Dussen, too, got into the act when he cracked Jayant to the right of point for four and then shovelled Chahal's wrong 'un past mid-on for another four. Prasidh, in particular, peppered van der Dussen with short balls in the lower 140 kph range, but he survived that burst and then attacked the spinners.
The absence of Venkatesh Iyer meant India had only five bowling options, and ever-lurking presence of both de Kock and van der Dussen left them scrambling for a sixth bowler. So, Shreyas came on to bowl some spin in the 31st over and ended up leaking 21 runs in three overs filled with loose balls. After spending six balls on 99, de Kock reached his 17th ODI ton - and sixth against India - with a drive off Shreyas. Among wicketkeeper-batters, only Kumar Sangakkara (23) has more ODI hundreds than de Kock.
de Kock threatened to hit full-tilt when he took Chahal for back-to-back fours in the 35th over, but Bumrah returned to the attack in the next over and had him holing out for 124 off 130 balls. It snapped a 144-run fourth-wicket partnership that came at the rate of over six an over. The stand could've been cut short much earlier had Pant, the wicketkeeper, not dropped van der Dussen twice - when he was first on 12 and then on 48.
It needed a spectacular sliding catch from Shreyas at deep midwicket for India to finally remove van der Dussen for 52 off 59 balls. It was the first time that they had dismissed van der Dussen - after 288 balls - since the first innings of the third Test at this venue.
Shreyas was also involved in the run-out of Phelukwayo (4), which added to the flurry of late wickets. It didn't cost South Africa in the end as they capped their home summer with a dramatic victory.
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