CENTURION – India thrashed South Africa by nine wickets with 29.3 overs to spare to race into a 2-0 lead in the Momentum One-Day International series here on Sunday.
Needing just 119 to win Virat Kohli’s team achieved its target in just the 21st over with the captain not out on 46 (50 balls, 4x4, 1x6) and opener Shikhar Dhawan unbeaten on 51 (56 balls, 9x4). The pair had shared a stand of 93 runs.
The Proteas slumped to 118 all out in just 32.2 overs – the lowest total recorded at this venue in an ODI.
Missing skipper Faf du Plessis, or anyone capable of playing an innings like he did in the series opener in Durban on Thursday, South Africa crumbled in the face of another examination from India’s spinners.
Wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, picked up career-best figures of 5/22 in 8.2 overs, while Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist spinner claimed 3/20 in six overs.
Nothing went right for the home team, from the start, with Du Plessis’ replacement as captain, Aiden Markram, losing the toss, and his side being inserted by Virat Kohli.
Openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock put on 39, but neither were allowed to get on top of the bowlers, with De Kock’s wretched form this season continuing as he pulled a long hop from Chahal to midwicket after making 20.
Earlier, Amla succumbed to a lovely in-ducker from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, that nicked the inside edge of his bat giving Mahendra Singh Dhoni an easy catch behind.
Amla, who normally walks, reviewed umpire Aleem Dar’s on-field decision, but the ‘ultra-edge’ device picked up the edge.
Markram was greeted by a rousing applause at his home ground, and played a nifty on drive to get off the mark, following which he was given a freebie outside leg-stump by Pandya, which he guided to the fine-leg boundary.
But then like De Kock, he hit a long hop straight to Bhuvneshwar at midwicket to be out for just eight.
That was the middle of a mini-collapse which saw the Proteas lose three wickets in six balls with no runs being added.
David Miller’s career-long problems against spin resurfaced as he was caught at slip off the fourth ball he faced from Yadav.
Debutant Khaya Zondo joined JP Duminy with the total on 51/4 in the 14th over, and the pair sought to restore the damage.
Both looked in reasonably good touch, Zondo manipulating the ball nicely into gaps, while Duminy did the same and tried to be aggressive against the spinners.
However, as has been the case for Zondo for most of this season in the domestic Momentum One-Day Cup, he looked good, got into the 20s and supposedly well set, and then gave it away, top-edging a sweep against Chahal and gave Hardik Pandya an easy catch at square leg.
The end of Duminy’s innings was actually more unforgivable, given his experience and the form he’s shown in domestic white-ball cricket for the Cape Cobras this season.
A big booming sweep which he missed, also against Chahal, was not the right shot at the stage of the innings, and 25 – which tied with Zondo for the highest score in South Africa’s innings – was nowhere near being good enough to give the home team something that would be defendable.
There was some late slogging by Chris Morris, but the Proteas tail folded against the spinners too, with the final total just one run more than the previous lowest for South Africa against India in an ODI, recorded in Nairobi in 1999/2000.
Chahal and Yadav were outstanding, bemusing the South Africans, something they’re likely to do to many sides in the next couple of years.
India started their reply an hour before the scheduled lunch break, and there was some controversy when their opener Rohit Sharma was given out by umpire Adrian Holdstock in the second over.
Sharma reviewed immediately and although ‘ultra-edge’ showed a scratch, it was determined by TV official Ian Gould that it was caused by Sharma’s bat hitting his pad.
Kagiso Rabada would eventually dismiss the right-hander, getting him caught hooking by Morné Morkel on the deep backward square-leg boundary for 15.
India’s victory march was halted by a farcical decision by the umpires to take lunch - which they had delayed earlier – with the tourists needing just two runs to win. Neither the crowd, nor the players were especially enamoured with the match’s conclusion being delayed by 40 minutes.
Kohli and Dhawan were dominant as India recorded an easy win to take firm control of the series.
The third match will be played in Cape Town on Wednesday.