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NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli peeled off yet another century as India defeated South Africa by six wickets in the first ODI of the six-match series to take 1-0 lead at Durban on Thursday. India chased down 270 in 45.3 overs thanks to a measured century from Kohli, his first limited-overs ton in South Africa, who was out after scoring 112 off 119.
1ST ODI: FULL SCORECARD
It was India’s first ever win in ODIs over South Africa in Durban and they also broke the hosts run of 17 consecutive wins at home.
Ajinkya Rahane also played a solid knock, scoring 79 – his fifth straight half-century in ODIs, equalling the Indian record jointly held by Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli [twice].
1ST ODI: AS IT HAPPENED
India began on a positive note but both openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were out after getting starts. Rohit miscued a shot on 20 to be caught by ‘keeper Quinton de Kock off Morne Morkel. His partner Dhawan cut an angry figure sitting in the Indian dressing room after being run out on 35.
Kohli called for a non-existent single in the 13th over of Indian chase as Dhawan inside edged one onto his pads. However, before he could react, Kohli was halfway down the pitch and Aiden Markram’s direct hit caught Dhawan well short of the crease at the non-striker’s end.
India were 67/2 when Kohli and Rahane joined hands and together they steered the India innings in the forward direction. The duo added 189 runs for the third wicket before being separated in the 43rd over when Rahane, aiming to finish the game early, ended up being caught at long-on. His innings had five fours and two sixes.
Kohli departed two overs later but not before he had played a thoroughly entertaining knock which studded with 10 fours. He reached the three-figure mark with a four and celebrated his 33rd ODI ton animatedly – in his own inimitable style. MS Dhoni finished the chase in style with a four as India won with over four overs and six wickets remaining.
Earlier, Faf du Plessis scored his ninth century as South Africa recovered to post a competitive 269/8. India spinners applied the brakes in the middle overs to reduce South Africa to 134/5 at one stage before captain Du Plessis (120) led the recovery. He was involved in the two highest partnerships of the South Africa innings. He first added 53 runs for the second wicket with Quinton de Kock (34) after Jasprit Bumrah gave India an early breakthrough in Hashim Amla (16).
The Indian spinners did well to never allow the South African order to settle after the hosts opted to bat with Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav keeping the pressure by bowling tightly. Between them, the middle-order trio of Markram, JP Duminy and the big-hitting David Miller could only manage 28 runs as South Africa slipped further. Du Plessis though continued to bat solidly and finally found an able ally in allrounder Chris Morris who scored a handy 37 before becoming Kuldeep’s third victim who eventually finished with 3/34.
On the other hand legspinner Chahal returned figures of 2/45 with the Jasprit Bumrah (1/56) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/71) chipping it with a wicket each.
Du Plessis struck 11 fours and two sixes during his knock and finally holed out in the last over of the South Africa innings when he holed out to Hardik Pandya off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, India were simply too good for them on Thursday night with Kohli recording his 18th century in successful chases.
Brief Scores: India 270/4 (Virat Kohli 112, Ajinkya Rahane 79) beat South Africa 269/8 (Faf du Plessis 120; Kuldeep Yadav 3/34) by six wickets