Visitors win six-match series 5-1 with eight-wicket triumph in final ODI
Virat Kohli smashed his 35th century in the ODI format to help India register a memorable 5-1 series win over South Africa in Centurion on Friday.The day started with the Indian captain Kohli winning the toss and opting to bowl first. His decision paid an instant dividend as veteran opener Hashim Amla and stand-in captain Aiden Markram departed with just 43 runs on the board.
But a 62-run third-wicket partnership between veteran middle-order batsman AB de Villiers and young Khaya Zondo stabilize the innings to some extent.However, once De Villiers departed in the 21st over, the home side once again started to lose wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bowled out for 204 in the 47th over.
Zondo finished the innings with the top score of 54 off 75 with the help of three fours and two sixes, whereas pacer Andile Phehlukwayo made an invaluable contribution of 34 off 42, including two fours and two sixes.
For India, young pacer Shardul Thakur was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed four, whereas fast-bowler Japrit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal claimed two wickets each.Chasing 204 was never going to be a tough task for the strong Indian batting lineup, who never looked in any sort of trouble and comfortably got over the line in the 33rd over with eight wickets in hand.
The star of the show was once again skipper Kohli, who produced another master class for the team and remained unbeaten on 129 off just 96 with the help of 19 fours and two sixes.He was well supported by middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who remained not out on 34 off 50 with the help of three boundaries.
For South Africa, pacer Lungi Ngidi was the only successful bowler on the night as he finished with figures of two for 54.For his outstanding batting performance in the match and throughout the series, Kohli was named player of the match and series.