Kohli century helps India beat South Africa by 35 runs
22 October 2015, 19:45
Chennai — A free-flowing knock of 138 from Virat Kohli helped India register a fine 35-run victory over South Africa in the fourth one-day international on Thursday to level the five-game series 2-2.
Kohli struck five sixes and six fours off 140 deliveries during his 23rd ODI century as India ran up a huge total of 299-8 after electing to bat. South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers produced a sprightly 112 but the visiting team could only manage 264-9 in reply.
Kohli got the big score he was looking for in ODIs as he set the game up mixing singles and twos with the boundaries. He got to his first three-figure score since his 107 in India's opening World Cup game against Pakistan at Adelaide on Feb. 15 with a six and continued to dominate.
He added 96 for the third wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (45) and 127 for the next wicket with left-hander Suresh Raina (53) as the home side made the most of the absence of South Africa pace bowler Morne Morkel and spinning allrounder Jean-Paul Duminy, who were ruled out due to injuries.
"I thought Virat batted exceedingly well," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. "Everyone has scored runs in the series now so that's good (for us) going into the last match at Mumbai."
Rahane, who scored half-centuries in the first two games of the series, struck four fours off 53 balls before being dismissed by pace bowler Dale Steyn off the first ball of his second spell. Rahane inside-edged a delivery that kept low and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock pouched it comfortably.
Raina, who had not got enough time to build his innings in earlier games, struck one six and three fours off 52 deliveries before he pulled one straight to mid-wicket off Steyn.
Kohli was dismissed caught behind trying to pull seamer Kagiso Rabada in the 49th over as pace bowlers Rabada (3-54) and Steyn (3-61) grabbed some quick wickets toward the end.
South Africa's quest for the 300-run target started strongly with last-match centurion Quinton de Kock getting some quick runs against new-ball bowlers Mohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar despite the early loss of Hashim Amla.
However, the introduction of slow bowlers changed the tempo.
Experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh bottled up de Kock who was out for 43 off 35, caught by Rahane at second slip. Harbhajan also trapped David Miller lbw for six to put the pressure on South Africa.
In between, Faf du Plessis fell for 17 after scoring half-centuries in all three previous games as he edged one off left-arm spinner Axar Patel and South Africa slipped from 62-1 from nine overs to 95-4 after 20.
South Africa reached the halfway mark of 150 in only 32.3 overs with the absence of Duminy playing in the minds of de Villiers and the lot. The score was 200-6 after 40 leaving exactly 100 to get in the last 10 overs.
De Villiers had played the waiting game in the hope of a final onslaught which he did start with some lofted shots and reverse-sweeps. However, he edged one from Kumar in the 45th over to end South Africa's hopes.
"It was a hard-fought game and I loved the way the boys fought till the end," de Villiers said. "It was a pretty tough wicket to play on and Virat assessed the conditions very well early on."
De Villiers struck two sixes and 10 fours off 107 balls and got to 1,000 runs during the calendar year. It was his second century of the series and 22nd overall.
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