JOHANNESBURG – India opener Shikhar Dhawan scored a century in his 100th One-Day International but scintillating South Africa claimed a five-wicket Duckworth-Lewis victory in a thrilling rain-curtailed clash at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Dhawan’s brilliant 109 from 105 balls lifted India to 289 for seven in their 50 overs, but after rain intervened in the contest, South Africa were left chasing 202 from 28 overs, a target they passed with 15 balls to spare to stay alive in the six-match series.
The home side had previously had to battle against India’s wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the series, but tore into them with a vicious assault that yielded 119 runs in just 11.3 overs to ease them past their victory target.
India lead the series 3-1 heading into the fifth match, to be played in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
“Super relieved to have gotten over the line today. In the last few weeks we have not played our best cricket . To be able to put some pressure on the Indians was a good feeling,” South Africa captain Aiden Markram said at the post-match presentation.
India won the toss and chose to bat, and their innings was anchored by the excellent left-hander Dhawan, who put on 158 for the second wicket with captain Virat Kohli (75 from 83 balls).
At that stage India had looked on course for a score well in excess of 320 but managed only 83 runs for the loss of five more wickets in the final 15 overs after the players had left the field because of the threat of lightning.
The hosts reached 43 for one in 7.2 overs in their reply when rain swept across the ground, keeping the players off the field for just shy of two hours.
Their shortened innings forced South Africa to be more positive against the Indian spinners and this worked to their advantage as they launched both Chahal (1-68 in 5.3 overs) and Yadav (2-51 in 6 overs) over the boundary with regularity.
David Miller (39 from 28 balls) survived being bowled by leg-spinner Chahal off a no-ball when he had seven and put on a crucial stand of 72 in 41 balls for the fifth wicket with the impressive Heinrich Klaasen (43 not out in 27 balls) that turned the tide in the favour of the home side.
“It became a T20 game and you have to take your chances,” Kohli said. “If it was a full game, you never know. Give credit to South Africa , they played with a lot of character and deserved to win.” - Agencies