11 February, Johannesburg
Trailing the series 3-0, South Africa came back strong in the fourth ODI of the six-match series to beat India by seven wickets and keep the series alive. India Skipper Virat Kohli congratulated the hosts on their first win, but lamented the unforced errors made by his team on the field.
South Africa chased down a rain-reduced target of 202 to win by 5 wickets with 15 balls remaining in a thrilling clash at the Wanderers in game which started on Saturday afternoon and ended on Sunday.
“In hindsight you have to give credit to South Africa. I think they played with a lot of character in the end, they pulled through, they deserved to win. They are a quality side, we expected them to play quality cricket and they played well tonight,” Kohli said in a post match ceremony.
India were strongly placed in the match before the weather interrupted the match. After 31 overs in the first innings they were superbly placed at 176/1, with both of Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan seemingly nearing centuries.
However, as the game resumed, India lost Dhawan after scoring a century. They then lost quick wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya.
“After the break when Shikhar and Jinks [Ajinkya] came off the wicket played a bit differently, it wasn’t as good to bat after the break,” he said.
The skipper added, “After the lightning break the guys felt with the weather getting cooler, the wicket got faster in the evening, and that continued through the innings, so I don’t think the guys quite settled in in the later half.”
As South Africa came to bat in, India looked in control as AB de Villiers was sent packing with the hosts still needing 100 runs off only 67 balls remaining.
However, David Miller scored a fast 39 after being dropped by Shreyas Iyer at deep Yuzvendra Chahal ball.
He shared a quickfire stand of 72 with wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, whose 43 not out off 27 balls earned him the man of the match award.
Kohli said, “It was more like a T20 game where you have to go after the bowlers and it can get difficult when people get into a groove and when a side has momentum it can be very difficult to stop them. Especially Miller and their wicket keeper batted very well, when we got AB I thought we were in the game, but those two guys took the game away from us.”
“We did not grab our chances. You have to take your chances in this game, no balls are a fine line as well. We did not deserve to win tonight, that’s the way the game goes,” the skipper lamented.