Yusuf Pathan smashed a brutal 105 from 70 balls with 8 sixes to almost steal the fifth and final ODI at Centurion from the hosts out of a completely losing situation! Set to chase 268 from 46 overs, India were in the dumps at 119 for 8 when Yusuf Pathan found an able partner in Zaheer Khan and the pair went onto add 100 runs for the ninth wicket. The Proteas could have so easily lost the match had Yusuf Pathan lasted another 3 overs or so and in the end it was the hosts breathing easy with a 38-run win to take the 5-Match ODI Series 3-2.
Toss and Teams :
The toss which was a crucial one considering the worrying weather conditions was won by MS Dhoni and he wisely put SA to bat first. India was the only team changing its line-up with leg spinner Piyush Chawla coming in for the listless Ashish Nehra. The pitch at the SuperSport Park was expected to have moisture because of all the rain and traditionally is considered to be a slow spinning track.
South Africa Innings :
SA were off to a bad start when Skipper Graeme Smith dabbed an away going delivery from Zaheer Khan on the frontfoot to be caught nicely by Yusuf Pathan at second slip in the 3rd over. That wicket did not cause any early tremors for the hosts as Morne van Wyk joined Hashim Amla to keep the scoreboard moving at a breezy rate. It was in the 23rd over that the visitors found a much needed breakthrough when Yuvraj Singh held onto a terrific one handed catch to his left off his own bowling to get rid of Morne van Wyk, who made 56 from 63 balls with 8 fours. SA thanks to that 97-run stand got to 113 for 2 but were soon 129 for 3 when AB de Villiers got stranded out of the crease to a turning ball from Yuvraj to get stumped out!
The pressure was on SA when JP Duminy walked into the middle to partner Hashim Amla in the 27th over. India started to lose the plot and failed to get any wickets at all and by the time rain hit the ground, SA were cruising along at 226 for 3 in 42 overs with Amla past a 7th ODI century.
Once play resumed, the match was reduced to a 46-over contest and SA in a hurry to gather as many as possible lost a bunch of wickets. Duminy (35 from 44 balls) fell in the first over after the resumption having miscued a slower one from Munaf. Duminy helped Amla to put up 102 runs for the fourth wicket. Munaf added two more wickets – Faf du Plessis (getting yorked) and Johan Botha (caught off a miscued pull) to finish with 3 for 50 in 8 overs while Zaheer Khan cleaned up Peterson with a yorker to take his final tally to 9-1-47-2. There were a couple of run outs in the final over and SA ended with 250 for 9 in 46 overs. Amla didn’t cause any damage towards the end and he stayed unconquered with 116* from 132 balls with 9 fours.
Like always in this series, India was off to a poor start and today they lost their first wicket in the form of Rohit Sharma in the 4th over. Rohit Sharma was out after dragging an expansive drive onto the timber off Lonwabo Tsotsobe. The in-form Virat Kohli fell cheaply in the 7th over after edging his drive on the up to the keeper to a beautiful delivery from Morne Morkel which nipped away off the surface. MS Dhoni promoted himself at no.4 but could only last 10 balls before he edged his cut shot off Morkel and was caught brilliantly by the forward diving Graeme Smith in the slips.
Parthiv Patel who looked good with his strokeplay also departed when he was caught superbly at extra covers by a diving Faf du Plessis. The catch taken by Du Plessis looked unconvincing with the ball appearing to have touched the ground but the TV Umpire went with the homeside. It was Morne Morkel who got Parthiv out to pick up his third wicket and have India in tatters at 60 for 4 in 11 overs.
After Parthiv, two more left handers followed him back into the pavilion in quick succession – first was Yuvraj Singh (8 from 14 balls) who cut a slower one from Steyn straight into the hands of Duminy at backward point and then Suresh Raina (11 from 8 balls) upper cutting the same bowler into the safe hands of Morne Morkel at square thirdman. Withing the next 10 overs, two more wickets went down that of Harbhajan Singh (flicking Botha in the air to mid wicket) and Piyush Chawla (getting clean bowled through the gate by a turning ball from left armer Peterson) as India collapsed to an embarassing 119 for 8 in the 23rd over.
When Zaheer Khan joined Yusuf Pathan, the match was as good as over and only a few fireworks here and there were expected. However, the partnership between these two grew into a significant one in no time as Yusuf Pathan dealt in boundaries and sixes to have the scoreboard moving at a rapid pace. In the 35th over, Pathan went onto reach his 2nd ODI Century in just 68 balls by pulling a short ball from Tsotsobe over mid wicket for a six! The Batting Powerplay was also taken an over before this and Yusuf was in a carnage mood and that also caused his downfall with India 49 runs away from a miraculous victory. Pathan’s wicket went down when he tried to play a big shot down the ground but Morne Morkel with his height got the ball to bounce a little higher in his good length ball to force a miscued hit. Under pressure, Faf du Plessis came under a skier at extra covers to end the heroic knock of 105 from 70 balls (with 8 fours and 8 sixes) from Yusuf Pathan.
It was exactly a 100-run stand that took India to a respectable 219 for 9. Zaheer Khan continued the fightback in the company of last man – Munaf Patel and added 15 more runs before getting caught at long off in the 41st over. Zaheer Khan lasted 58 balls to score a responsible 58 before he perished to a Tsotsobe delivery. India got bowled out for 234 to go down fighting by 38 runs. The Man of the Match award went to Hashim Amla while the Man of the Series was given to Morne Morkel for capturing 12 wickets in the series. Morkel played a crucial part in this match as well with his 4 for 52 in 8 overs.