Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Middle order delivers as South Africa keep series alive

Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli celebrates his century in the third ODI against South Africa cricket team at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday India v South Africa | Virat Kohli's century helps India take an unassailable 3-0 lead in series
Frederick Owens | 11 February, 2018, 06:48

If Deviliers returns, it will greatly boost the batting, but the best way for South Africa to win remains trying to bowl first and bowl the Indians out and chase down a potentially low target.

Yet another 50 for Team India skipper Virat Kohli whose average in the current ODI series is closing to 400. He registered his 46th ODI fifty.

India was flying and on course for a score well over 300 when Dhawan and Kohli put together a 158-run stand for the second wicket off just 163 balls.

Dhawan and Kohli then stabilised the innings as they took India to 178/1 in 31 overs, from 20/1 in 4 overs. He tentatively fended at an incoming delivery and lobbed the ball back to Rabada who took a sharp catch in his follow-through.

India, who suffered their first loss of the tour, were 240 all out following half centuries from Deepti Sharma (79) and Veda Krishnamurthy (56). But given the circumstances in which they lost this game, perhaps, it was just meant to be South Africa's night.

The good news for the home side is that Devilliers is back to the squad for the final three ODIs.

India have made one change in the playing XI with Kedar Jadhav making way for Shreyas Iyer.

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The fourth ODI between the Proteas and India takes place at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday (February 10), followed by matches in Port Elizabeth (Tuesday, February 13) and Centurion (Friday, February 16).

India's success in the series is largely down to 3-4 players. The team has a 3-0 lead in the 6 match series.

A victory will also help the visitors topple the Proteas to bag the number one stop in the ICC ODI team rankings. Chahal and fellow wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav tormented the South Africa batsmen in the first three games but de Villiers' decision to attack Chahal appeared to give the rest of the South Africans confidence.

Left-arm spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav then ran through the South African batting line-up with four wickets each as the hosts folded up for 179 runs in 40 overs. On resumption, the bowlers hit their groove much quicker than the batsmen, and with both Dhawan and Rahane falling soon, India had to contend with a fired up bowling unit against their middle order.

South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Hashim Amla, Jean Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khayelihle Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), AB de Villiers.

As the staff of BCCI headquarters in Mumbai was bustling around to ensure the live telecast of their precious male cricket team, miles away, in the South African city of Kimberley, Mithali Raj was busy ensuring that her own team performs its heart out.

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