1st ODI: Virat Kohli hundred, Rahane 79 script India’s win over South Africa

first_imgVirat Kohli’s 33rd hundred and Ajinkya Rahane’s classy half-century scripted a sensational 6-wicket win over South Africa in the first ODI of a six-match series.India also ended South Africa’s 17-ODI winning streak at home.Chasing 270 under lights, India were off to a watchful start before losing Rohit Sharma early. However, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli seemed to settle in nicely and the duo kept the scoreboard ticking.Dhawan was looking dangerous before a misunderstanding with Kohli resulted in a run-out. Dhawan walked off the field, visibly upset with his captain.The onus was on Kohli to steer the chase in the company of Rahane, who was making a comeback into the ODI team in the middle order after being branded an opening option.Rahane took his time to get going but Kohli started unleashing some breathtaking shots to put the pressure back on the South Africans. Not long after, Rahane found his touch and released some pressure with a delightful boundary off JP Duminy.Kohli and Rahane particularly played Imran Tahir well and nullified the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler with some deft footwork.Kohli was unrelenting in his pursuit of victory and punished any lose delivery South Africa dished up. The hosts were not defending plenty and Kohli’s aggression set them back further.The Indian captain had drawn some flak over his team selection in the first two Tests but he answered his critics with a sizzling 153 in Centurion and then gutsy performances in Johannesburg as he’d led India to their third Test victory in South Africa.advertisementOn Thursday, Kohli was in his zone again as he donned the hat of the chase master and smashed his maiden ODI hundred in South Africa and his second of this tour to script India’s maiden ODI win over the hosts in Durban.He was well assisted by Rahane, whose exclusion from the two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion had started a raging debate back home.Rahane matched Kohli shot for shot and by the time he departed for 79, India needed only 14 more to win.The result in itself was only a formality and the victory was achieved without much fuss, with MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya taking India over the ropes.Earlier, South African captain Faf Du Plessis carried his side as his team mates were strangled by India’s wrist spinners, slumping to 134-5 with Kuldeep Yadav the pick of the bunch as he finished with figures of 3-34 in an economical 10-over spell.Together with Chris Morris (37), Du Plessis piled on late runs to take South Africa to a better than expected total, and hand a sell-out crowd hope but still significantly short of a defendable target.The second game of the series is at Centurion in Pretoria on Sunday.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img