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Kohli smashes ton as India coast to big win
February 02, 2018
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DURBAN: Steered by a belligerent 112 by skipper Virat Kohli and a supporting knock of 79 from his partner Ajinkya Rahane, India coasted to an easy 6-wicket win over South Africa in the first One Day International of their six-match series being played at The Kingsmead in Durban.

After the fall of two wickets rather cheaply, that of opener Shikhar Dhawan who hit a quick-fire 35 off 29 deliveries (6 fours) and Rohit Sharma for only 20, it was the 189-run partnership between Kohli and Rahane that thoroughly dismantled the hosts and helped India to take a 1-0 lead in their six-match series.

It was a hard day’s grind at the office for the South African bowlers, with only Morne Morkel -- who took the wicket of Rohit Sharma, and Andile Phehlukwayo who claimed two scalps, that of Kohli and Rahane, while giving away 42 runs -- managing to figure among the wickets.

Rahane proved to be an able foil for his skipper, scoring a brilliant 79 of only 86 balls, embellished with five fours and two sixes, before being caught by Imran Tahir off the bowling of Phehlukwayo. The 21-year-old South African bowler had to bear the consternation of seeing a life given to the Indian captain after his century, when an easy catch offered to Khaya Zondo running in from deep square leg.

However, the never-say-die Phehlukwayo eventually tasted success as he foxed Kohli with a slower bouncer. The Indian captain once again hoicked the ball, only for it to land in the safe hands of Rabada. However, Kohli’s wicket was too little, too late as he had already brought his team to the verge of victory. Kohli’s stunning 112 off 119 deliveries was studded with 10 smashing hits to the boundary.

Eventually, it was left to incoming batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya who had come in to take Rahane’s place, to give India a well-deserved win by 6 wickets with 27 balls to spare.

Du Plessis’ ton in vain

Earlier, South African captain Faf du Plessis made a century to lift South Africa after he won the toss and elected to bat.

Du Plessis made 120 in a South African total of 269 for eight after they won the toss and batted on a slow pitch.

Indian wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took five wickets between them and the South Africans struggled to achieve momentum as they slumped to 134 for five in 27.5 overs.

Du Plessis, though, batted confidently and shared stands of 74 with Chris Morris (37) and 56 with Andile Phehlukwayo (27 not out) to get his team to a competitive total.

Leg-spinner Chahal took two for 45 and left-arm wrist spinner Yadav took three for 45 and kept tight control during the middle overs.

There was a scare for India early in the innings when captain Virat Kohli jarred his left knee when attempting a sliding stop on a soft outfield.

Kohli left the field twice to receive treatment but appeared to be moving freely when he took a diving catch to dismiss David Miller and made a smart pick-up and throw in attempting a run-out.

Du Plessis reached his ninth one-day international century off 101 balls with 11 fours and added two sixes before being caught at long-off in the last over after a 112-ball innings.


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