South Africa leveled the ongoing ODI Series 2-2 with a comprehensive 48-run win in the rain affected fourth ODI at Port Elizabeth. The hosts batting first after winning the toss overcame some serious trouble thanks to JP Duminy’s 71* to give a stiff target of 266 for India. The homeside bowlers did a fabulous job under lights to restrict India to 142 for 6 in 32.5 overs before rain had the last laugh at the St.George’s Park. For India, there was a bright performance from young Virat Kohli who scored an unbeaten 87.
Toss and Teams
South Africa decided to bat first on a pitch that was expected to be on the slower side and aid the spinners. The hosts made two changes with Morne van Wyk and Robin Peterson replacing Colin Ingram and Wayne Parnell. India made one change with Parthiv Patel replacing Murali Vijay in the opening slot.
South Africa Innings
The Proteas were slow to begin with as Zaheer and Munaf bowled some tight lines. However with no wickets falling to the new ball, SA could manage taking some chances and it was in the 12th over that India could finally find a breakthrough. It was Graeme Smith jumping down the track and smacking Nehra straight into the hands of Harbhajan at mid off after a 30-ball 18. SA were 57 for 1 in 11.1 overs at this stage. Next man – Morne van Wyk stayed in the middle scoring 15 from 22 balls before edging a turning ball from Yuvraj to Kohli at slip in the 20th over with the score at 106 for 2.
India got SA on the mat in the middle overs as three wickets went down in quick succession. First it was a well set Hashim Amla, who after a 69-ball 64 (with 8 fours) got run out by Kohli when he tried to take a second run from fine leg in the 21st over. Just five balls later, AB de Villiers (3) got beaten by a turning ball from Yuvraj and in the process dragged his backleg out of the crease to give a stumping opportunity for the Indian Skipper. Faf du Plessis (1), who had an impressive debut in the 3rd ODI ran himself out after being sent back from a single towards Kohli at mid wicket.
The homeside were reeling at 118 for 5 in the 23rd over and India had a perfect chance of crushing them to set up a Series win of 3-1. However, they let off the sixth wicket pair of Duminy and Botha off the hook and they helped SA recover nicely along. It was only in the 38th over that there was a breakthrough for the bowling side when Johan Botha having contributed 44 from 59 balls (with 3 fours) got stumped off Yuvraj after missing a sweep and dragging his backleg out of the crease. Botha’s stand with Duminy took SA to 188 for 6! India still struggled to bowl out SA as they ran into a fine partnership of 54 runs for the seventh wicket. Peterson hung in there with Duminy for a 35-ball 31 before he got run out in the final overs. Duminy finished the innings with an unbeaten 71 in 72 balls with 2 fours and a six to take SA to 265 for 7. For India, Yuvraj bowled well for his 3 for 34 in 8 overs.
SA had a quick first wicket when Rohit Sharma who barely opened his account cut Tsotsobe’s wide delivery straight into the hands of Duminy at point in the 2nd over. Parthiv Patel (11 from 24 balls), the other opener struck the ball well but often found the fielders and in the 10th over fell across in a flick shot to get lbw to a Tsotsobe inswinger. India were under pressure because of the dull start at 32 for 2 in the 10th over and Yuvraj Singh had to take matters in his own hands. He did so by playing a smashing pull off Steyn for a boundary but got out cheaply to Johan Botha. In the 15th over, Yuvraj (12) didn’t get hold of a predetermined lap sweep and Graeme Smith fielding at slip anticipated that the ball was heading towards leg slip and he covered the ground quickly and came up with an outstanding diving catch!
India was going nowhere at 49 for 3 in 15 overs when Suresh Raina joined Virat Kohli. The two youngsters kept their wickets intact and after sometime got the team slowly back on track. In the 27th over, SA bounced back as Raina (20 from 36 balls) got stranded out of the crease while trying to nudge Peterson towards covers but was comprehensively beaten by one that straightened past the outside edge to have him stumped. Raina’s 63-run stand with Kohli took the visitors to 112 for 4.
The Proteas struck two clinical blows after Raina’s exit to knock India out of the chase. First it was Skipper MS Dhoni (2) who tamely played a backfoot drive early to spoon a simple catch to extra covers off Robin Peterson in the 29th over. The next blow was Yusuf Pathan (2) flicking on the backfoot to a Morne Morkel delivery that was nipping away from off to be caught behind off the leading edge to the keeper. Virat Kohli who was batting beautifully by this time was short of partners at the other end and the arrival of rain only made the Duckworth/Lewis Target go up by a long way. Rain also robbed Kohli an easy opportunity off a 5th ODI century as he had to settle with an 87 not out (from 92 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes).
The match was called off with India at 142 for 6 in 32.5 overs and thus falling short of the D/L Target by 48 runs. All the SA bowlers did a splendid job – especially Steyn and Morkel giving nothing away, Tsotsobe providing the inroads and the spinners managing to bowl some tight overs. The Man of the Match award went to JP Duminy for his rescue act of 71*.