Pride and not much else at stake for SA: Kohli and Co aim for 5-1
Harmanpreet Kaur and Co are in action too: Follow the second T20I live here.
To join the conversation, send an email to email@example.com. We’ll feature your comments in the live blog.
11:40 pm: The series of Virat Kohli, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav... records broken left, right and center. Ifs and buts don’t mean much in cricket, *but* imagine there was no rain in the Pink ODI in Jo’burg - we would bet a 6-0 was very, very likely. India have been ruthless.
That’s it from us for the day. There’s not much of a break, the T20I series starts on Sunday. The women and men play back-to-back and both matches will be telecast. (Huzzah!) Join us on Sunday.
Till then, have a good weekend, folks.
What an extra-ordinary series...
Six ODIs. Five won by Virat Kohli’s India. 33 wickets for two India’s spinners out of the 53 wickets to fall. 500-plus runs in a bilateral series by one guy. First time Indian men’s team has won a bilateral series of any sort.
Years down the line, this will be discussed as a series that is a statistical anomaly in so many ways.
Man of the match, man of the series, winning captain. Virat Kohli is shortening post-match presentations:
“It’s important to be surrounded by good people. My wife is one person who has kept me going through this series, she has been criticised in the past but she has backed me through out. I got 8-9 years left in my career, I want to make the most of it. I just put my head down and keep working hard. It’s been a great turnaround and a total team effort by the boys. The team has shown great character, especially the two young spinners. Shikhar at the top, Rohit. The way the series went augurs well for us.”
11:10 pm: What do you say about Virat Kohli. An absolutely clinical run-chase.
INDIA WIN BY 8 WICKETS, complete 5-1 series win: Fittingly, the series ends with a flowing straight drive off the bat of Virat Kohli for four. India reach the target in the first ball off the 33rd over. Kohli finishes on 129 off 96 balls.
After 31 overs, India 196/2 : Things are happening at a regular pace. Rahane is scoring a boundary, taking a few singles. Kohli scoring a streaky boundary - has to be the only criticism-worthy shot from his willow today. No exaggeration.
And then - BOOM! - two sixes by KOHLI off Tahir. A proper slog sweep over midwicket, followed by an elegant but powerful lofted shot down the track that almost carries all the way past the green banks of Supersport park. India are nine runs away from 5-1.
After 27 overs, India 165/2 - KING KOHLI DOES IT AGAIN : Hundred for Kohli! His 35th in ODIs! Third of this series! 103* off 82 balls. This has been another masterclass from the India skipper. Kohli at his aggressive best. 68 runs from the knock have come off boundaries and he gets to the landmark with one off Tahir - it’s full, it’s flighted, Kohli bludgeons it straight down the ground and thumps his chest in celebration.
After 26 overs, India 160/2: Another over, another exquisite Kohli boundary. Cover drive on the up off Morris. Runs like a mad man again to get to 99* - one short of 35TH century.
After 25 overs, India 154/2: Kohli is racing towards another 100. 93* right now out of the 154 India have scored. 75 balls. 15 boundaries. This is ridiculous. Forget the boundaries for a minute, look at him run in that over after hitting a boundary. Like a man possessed. Virat Kohli is addicted to runs, so to speak. It’s his drug. Madness.
After 22 overs, India 137/2: Virat Kohli is batting on 7 off balls, playing some ridiculous shots - two more boundaries on offside off Phehlukwayo, who looks flabbergasted. So instead of describing all that, we are just going to flood you with some statistics - he now has the most runs in a bilateral series ever.
After 19 overs, India 120/2: WE need to find another way to say “Kohli’s batting is at another level” - another exquisite cover drive off Phehlukwayo which was just a forward defensive push.
More milestones for Kohli...
After 16 overs, India 110/2 - DRINKS: ANOTHER FIFTY FOR KOHLI! What can one say about this man and hunger for runs? An exquisite off drive for four brings up the captain’s half century and he finishes the over with a controlled pull shot in front of square - all along the carpet.
He is on 56 off 39 balls - next level batting.
After 15 overs, India 101/2: 100 up for India and they are motoring along here. Nine runs from Morris’ over followed by 7 from Morkel’s comeback over. Kohli stands up to Morris and punches one through the covers off the backfoot - a shot you could watch all day. Rahane plays his trademark square cut off Morkel to get going...
Matter of time before 5-1...
After 13 overs, India 85/2 - DHAWAN GONE: Expensive over but Ngidi’s long spell gets a deserving reward. Dhawan smashes a cut shot off the middle of his bat, but hits it straight to Zondo at point - wry smile from Dhawan, a wide, cheeky smile on Ngidi’s face. Such a delightful guy to watch. Two boundaries either side of that wicket - Dhawan with a cut past point, Kohli with a flick through square leg.
After 12 overs, India 76/1 - more milestones: Virat Kohli now has the most runs in a bilateral series in South Africa going past (South African) England batsman Kevin Pietersen, And a partnership milestone between these two as well.
Ngidi, meanwhile, will bowl his 6th over of the innings. An extended spell for him...
After 10 overs, India 63/1 - an excellent powerplay for India: Dhawan pulls Morkel for a four in the 9th over and a lovely straight drive for 3 by Kohli in the 10th as Morris comes in to bowl means India finish the powerplay comfortably on top. Incredible how these two have repeatedly made batting look easy for India.
After 8 overs, India 53/1: SA bowlers keeping the line on the leg stump. Markram even places a man at short fine leg for a catch. India’s batsmen, though, are not shying away with attempts at pull shots. Plenty of close shaves, though. And now that they are seeing the ball better, boundaries are beginning to flow. Two pull shots by Kohli off Ngidi for two boundaries, first looked like a mishit but the second was imperious.
After 5 overs, India 22/1: Watchful start by both Kohli and Dhawan. Morkel has a couple of appeals for caught behind turned down in the 5th over, both against Dhawan down the leg side.
After 4 overs, 20/1 - ROHIT GONE: And Ngidi does Rabada proud. It’s a nice little setup, bowling a couple of full balls and then banging one short at Rohit’s ribs - he’s rushed into the shot and can only glove it to Klaasen.
Kohli walks out to bat early in this series again...
After 2 over, India 10/0: Just a single off Ngidi’s first over. The youngster has extra responsibility on him given the absence of Rabada today.
After 1 over, India 9/0: Out of form, that edge would have carried to the three fielders waiting in the slip region, but Rohit is lucky that a peach from Morkel goes to 3rd man for four. Last ball, he smashes past point to make it a 9-run over.
08:45 pm: Back for the chase... Dhawan takes strike again (like he did in the 5th match) Morkel with the ball in his hand.
Innings break: South Africa’s innings, in all honesty, never got going from the word go. Just the one good partnership between ABD and Zondo (run-a-ball 60-odd stand) but Chahal’s flipper to dismiss his RCB teammate was perhaps the point this innings decisively swung India’s way.
But 204 is still better than 118... that they managed in the 2nd ODI here. Something to fight for.
Join us for the run-chase...
South Africa 204 all out in 46.5 overs: “19 balls just wasted away,” laments Michael Holding as Shardul Thakur gets his fourth wicket - a nice tumbling return catch - but not before Phehlukwayo hits him for back-to-back sixes. Still, 4/52 is a good return for the man playing his first match on this tour. A day to remember for Shardul.
After 46 overs, SA 192/9 - Tahir gone: ‘Bumrah has been brilliant on this tour, he has delivered for his captain every time’ says Haysman as a slower ball is too good for Tahir, who lobs it up to Kohli at cover who takes a nice tumbling, low catch and brings up a nice little milestone...
After 44 overs, SA 188/8 - Morkel gone: A chancy, entertaining 19-ball 20 by Morkel comes to an end as he cuts Pandya to Shreyas Iyer at deep point. End of a useful partnership. And a deserved wicket for Pandya who finishes with 10-0-39-1.
After 42 overs, SA 176/7: Fine little partnership this between Phehlukwayo and Morkel. SA get relief from the wrist-spinners after 41 overs. They did not pick up many today, but kept SA in check.
Meanwhile in East London, another fantastic run-chase by Indian women led once again by Mithali Raj... India now lead 2-0.
After 39 overs, SA 160/7 - MORKEL (NOT) OUT: Chahal thinks he has Morkel trapped in front as he goes forward and misses a sweep shot - he reviews it. The DRS process takes forever and finally says the ball spun enough to miss leg! Smiles all around.
After 37 overs, SA 151/7 - ZONDO GONE: To borrow a Star Wars idiom, the resistance falls. Zondo was the only one adding any respectability to this South African innings and he chips a flighted leg spinner off Chahal to Pandya at deep cover. Almost harmlessly. It’s been slow going for SA, but it is a milestone nonetheless that they reached 150 in that over. They need a lot more if they hope to challenge India.
After 35.4 - SA 147-6 - Break in play, blood being spilled: Oh dear, Phehlukwayo drives a wrong ‘un back at Kuldeep who puts down a low catch and has blood all over his right hand - physio out in the middle, and he looks OK to continue.
After 34 overs SA 143/6 - MORRIS GONE: It would have been a major anomaly had Kuldeep Yadav not finished without a wicket in this match and he rights that wrong. It’s a wrong ‘un that is not picked again, as Morris doesn’t even look in the direction of the ball once he plays a heave that results in a leading edge - taken by Dhawan at long off.
One man has kept fighting though and it’s Zondo, who finally reaches his fifty (he has been in the 40s for what feels like an eternity now)...
After 32 overs, SA 137/5 - BEHARDIEN GONE: Bumrah completes a fine catch running in from third man boundary to dismiss Behardien. The batsman looks for an upper cut, but can’t beat a determined Bumrah, who almost drops this but has enough of a grip around the ball with his right hand to make sure he doesn’t let this spill - Shardul gets his third! The ploy to bring in the pacers back has worked.
After 31 overs, SA 136/4 - KLAASEN GONE: The Klaasen has been unreleased. Bumrah bounces back from conceding 2 boundaries in his previous over in the perfect way possible. A cutter, landed fully, Klaasen is a little early into the drive and Kohli completes a lovely low catch at short cover. 30 off 58 deliveries, that partnership was worth. Just when it looked like it was taking South Africa *somwhere*....
SA 129/3 after 29 overs - boundaries, HUZZAH! Klaasen snaps SA’s boundary drought. Their first four in 40 minutes! He follows it up with another. Both pull shots through midwicket off Bumrah’s short balls. Not a good over from ‘Jas’ who comes back into the attack.
Shardul too makes a comeback at the other end (for presumably a couple of overs before spin takes over from over 35 onwards. Kohli is a man of patterns, at least in ODIs.)
After 28 overs, SA 121/3: Chahal and Pandya continue in tandem as the runs have dried up since ABD’s dismissal (even if he wasn’t scoring at a high rate, it was bound to have an impact) One run off Pandya in the 26th, 2 off Chahal in the 27th and off Pandya in the 28th. The choke is on in Centurion as Klaasen and Zondo take risky singles and play-and-miss a few times.
Pandya’s spell so far: 7-0-18-0
Something’s gotta give here you sense...
After 25 overs, 116/3 - Zondo 44, Klaasen 6: Kuldeep out of the attack after bowling his 6th over and it’s now Chahal and Pandya in tandem. Chahal has come back nicely since Zondo hit him for those two sixes. Five singles from the 25th by Chahal and two from his previous over. Pandya continues to bowl a wonderful 4th stump line, mixing in the cutters and scrambled seam deliveries - just 2 off his comeback over.
06:00 pm: Innings break in East London and Harmanpreet Kaur and Co need 143 to take a 2-0 lead. Follow the chase here...
After 22 overs, SA 108/3 - AB de Villiers gone: CHAHAL gets his RCB teammate and is delighted with it. ABD looks to give himself room and cut the leggie through the vacant cover-point region, the ball is sent in quicker and straighter, cramps AB and takes the leg stump out! Kuldeep will feel like a new bowler now at the other end - just 2 from his next over as Klaasen struggles to read the wrong ‘un.
After 20 overs, SA 104/2 - what an eventful over after drinks break: Zondo gets a life. He’s struck on the pads by Chahal. The umpire raises the finger right away, but He reviews. Replays show the ball hit the gloves on the way to the pads. He survives. Celebrates the lifeline with two sixes off Chahal. Brings up the half-century partnership between him and De Villiers and SA’s 100 as well. 4 from Kuldeep’s next over.
DRINKS - After 18 overs, SA 88/2: Hat-trick of fours for ABD... an eventful over to head into this mini break. Kuldeep has leaked runs in his last two overs. ABD starts it off with a calculated inside out extra cover drive (all along the ground) for four, Kuldeep is then unlucky not to have the prized wicket as he turns one back into him, and the inside edge goes over the stumps and past Dhoni and Rahane at leg slip - a harsh man would call that a dropped chance for a keeper of Dhoni’s calibre. Finishes the over with a reverse sweep off a rank full toss. Five singles came off Chahal’s first over at the other end.
Feels like game on with ABD at the crease.
After 16 overs, SA 67/2: Khaya Zondo is not eating up too many balls today (see what we did there? KHAYA? SORRY!) A full-toss and short ball from Kuldeep to start his third over (first two overs going for 5 runs) and he puts them away for back-to-back boundaries. Confident stuff. And ABD at the other end is batting for the long haul. This is a very patient innings from him so far - and understandably so.
After 13 overs, SA 55/2 - Just one from Pandya’s second over and then it’s time for spin from the other end. Kuldeep is into the attack and he will be glad to see the scoreboard - two down and the middle order already exposed. He concedes 4 singles to start off. Zondo brings up the 50 for SA in the 13th over, by cutting Pandya for four.
After 10 overs, India 44/2 - MARKRAM GONE: Forgettable series as a captain, forgettable series as a batsman and Markram gets a taste of his own medicine as a fielder too. Thakur comes back for one over presumably as a change of ends - strikes to remove the SA captain! Punched in the air off the back foot, Shreyas Iyer takes a fantastic catch at cover - after dropping a couple of sitters in the last two games, that was quite something.
After 9 overs, SA 36/1: Ah, the ABD timing. Just a defensive push off the backfoot but it races to the boundary - Bumrah has a smile on his face. What else can you do. Pandya into the attack from the other end - a tad early. And concedes just three. An AB de Villiers hat-trick today? (Pandya has dismissed him twice in two matches now)
After 7 overs, SA 27/1 - AMLA GONE: Been a series to forget for Amla for the most part and he is once again dismissed in the first powerplay. This is banged in short, at the ribs, angling down the leg side, he tries to awkwardly glance that one instead of pull - gloved to MSD who takes an easy catch.
ABD is the new man in... South Africa need a madness from him, frankly, given their batting lineup today.
After 6 overs, SA 22/0: Shardul has worked up some good pace, consistently hitting the 140 mark. Another boundary in this over but Markram was not in control of that - the ball rushed on to him, and the flick just evades a leaping Chahal at midwicket. Another good over from Bumrah spoiled a bit by a short ball to end it - pulled majestically for four.
After 4 overs, SA 13/0: A boundary again of Thakur’s over (that’s 3 in his first 2 overs) as Amla punches one in the air over the fielder at cover - cries of “catch” but that was high enough. Another good over from Bumrah at the other end - just one off it. CORRECTION: It’s a maiden over from Bumrah.
A little background on Shardul’s jersey number - he’s wearing 54 today after he was slammed on social media (unfortunately rather) for wearing No 10 last year.
After 2 overs, SA 9/0: A life (sort of) for Amla to start with - a typical rising delivery from Bumrah, and the outside edge bisects the slip and gully. Amla was not in control of that one at all. Just one run from that over.
After 1 over, SA 8/0: Shardul Thakur (not wearing No 10 today, in case you were wondering!) gets the new ball and concedes 8 from his first over. A nervy start, offering Markram a couple of juicy short balls outside off - duly put away for four. Not a packed ring in the off side to start with - as Kohli has gone for two slips.
04:30 pm: Playing XI for the Indian women’s second T20I... live blog here:
04:25 pm: National anthems done... minutes away from action in Centurion.
In other cricket news, Ishant Sharma will be playing in England during the IPL this year - a better move for him and for Indian cricket? Read here:
04:20 pm: Harmanpreet Kaur and Co are in action in East London in the second T20I... The Field’s Zenia D’Cunha has all the updates from that one here.
04:10 pm: Just the one change for India with Kohli citing Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s workload to give him a rest and Shardul Thakur is in the XI. If you thought Manish Pandey or Dinesh Karthik would get a game, well you thought wrong. Four changes for South Africa - and weirdly, their XI looks the weakest today of all the six games.
No JP Duminy and David Miller for South Africa... hmmm.
INDIA XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
SOUTH AFRICA XI: Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, AB de Villiers, Khaya Zondo, Klaasen, Behardien, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi
04:05 pm: Virat Kohli has won the toss and says his will have a bowl first on a hard pitch...
04:00 pm: Average score batting first in the last 5 day-night ODIs in Centurion is 332 - thrice won by team batting first. So all indications are at a run-fest today. The previous match here saw the spinners spin a web around the South Africans though.
03:55 pm: There was a T20I at Eden Park in New Zealand today, and the team that made 243/6 ended up on the losing side. If you or your loved one is an aspiring young bowler, look away...
03:50 pm: Rohit Sharma, after having a torrid time on tour, came roaring back to form with a match-winning century. He was a very relaxed man after his man of the match performance.
It’s a brain gain: How a positive spin helped India turn things around in South Africa
03:40 pm: It’s been quite the turn-around for India after the two defeats to start the Test series. Failures have their own lessons to teach and so do victories but the great teams find a way to get better regardless of the result.
Ashish Magotra wrote about that here.
03:35 pm: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the final ODI of this six-match series between India and South Africa. Who would have thought India would be the side with a chance to go 5-1 up today? Well, such is the story of this series. The venue is Centurion for the second time in this series.