Cape Town: Indian skipper Virat Kohli finished with an unbeaten 160, steering India to a super competitive 303 against South Africa in the third One Day International of the six-match series at the Newlands here on Wednesday.
India breaching the 300-run mark was not an easy affair as visitors were losing wickets on a regular interval. It was a super-flop show from the middle order. But, this Virat Kohli remained unstoppable from one end and kept himself unperturbed from the blows on the other end.
Virat’s 160* is the highest by an Indian captain away from home after Kapil Dev’s 175* against Zimbabwe in Turnbridge Wells in 1983.
Kohli’s 159-ball knock was studded with 12 boundaries and two biggies.Shikhar Dhawan’s breezy 63-ball 76 also added flavours in India’s batting. He hit 12 fours in his audacious knock.
Barring the 139-run second wicket stand with opener Shikhar Dhawan Kohli received very little support from the other batsmen, before tailender Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16 off 19; 4X1) chipped in to add an unbeaten 67 runs for the seventh wicket.
With 257 being the highest target chased down in Cape Town, a tough chase awaits Proteas.
After being invited to bat, India faced a severe blow in the last delivery of the very first over with Rohit Sharma departing for a duck.
Also read: SA vs Ind, 3rd ODI: Century number 34 for run-machine Virat Kohli
Kohli started off vulnerably, escaping an lbw call on nought off Kagiso Rabada, thanks to a huge inside edge but settled down quickly to launch the counter attack.
Dhawan, at the other end, continued his merciless attack on the home bowlers, to bring up his 25th ODI fifty off 42 balls with a boundary off leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
South Africa’s frustration was evident from the fact that the Indian pair went on to better their own record (93 runs) of the highest partnership for the second wicket against the Proteas.
Just when the Indian pair started looking invincible, part-time off-spinner Jean Paul Duminy came to the rescue of the hosts with the crucial wicket of Dhawan, who chipped wide off midwicket only to be latched on by stand-in captain Aiden Markram.
Duminy jolted India once again with the wicket of No.4 Ajinkya Rahane (11), before all-rounder Hardik Pandya (14), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (10) and Kedar Jadhav (1) made their way back in quick succession.
In the middle of all the drama, Kohli kept his calm to bring up his 34th ODI century off 119 balls, when he flicked Duminy behind leg for two runs.
Precariously placed at 236/6, India could hardly dream of a total past 300, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar repeated his feats of the Test series and gave Kohli the license to hammer the South Africans at will.
For the hosts, Duminy was the pick of the bowlers returning 2/60, while Rabada, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Tahir chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Brief Scores: India 303/6 (Virat Kohli 160 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 76, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 16 not out; J.P.Duminy 2/60) vs South Africa.
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