Virat Kohli-led India defeated South Africa by 73 runs in the 5th ODI of the six-match ODI series on Tuesday (13 Feb), and bagged the historic ODI series-win in and against South Africa, after acquiring an unassailable 4-1 lead. Opening batsman Rohit Sharma, who was dormant till now in India’s first 3 ODI wins, stepped up in the 5th ODI and orchestrated India’s innings of 274 runs.
To balance the equation after India had set the target score of 275 runs, India pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, along with the wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ran past the South Africa batting order, to seal India’s first ever ODI series win in and against South Africa, at the St. George’s Park on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli pleased, says pressure to lose was on South Africa
This is India’s first bilateral series win in South Africa, and captain Virat Kohli was more than pleased with the effort that India displayed. Virat Kohli spoke after the 5th ODI was wrapped and bagged by the Indian team, and said that as the men in blue displayed excellent cricket, both with the bat and the ball, the pressure to lose was only on South Africa, and not India. As reported by the Indian Express, Kohli told Shaun Pollock in the post-match presentation.,
“Very pleased. Another convincing win for us and I thought the guys really got stuck in, with the bat, with the ball and on the field as well. It was a complete performance from us which was important to put together after the last game. Only one team had the pressure of losing the series right from the start and that was South Africa.”
“We knew that a few mistakes and we’d be right back in the game. Right from the third Test in Johannesburg, it has been a great time for us. We’ve been playing some really good cricket and it has been a collective effort from the team-mates, the support staff, and everybody; feels wonderful to be 4-1 up.”
Rohit Sharma came to rescue the 5th ODI
Even as India scored a seemingly decent score of 274, which was set up by the help of Rohit Sharma’s 126-ball 115-run knock, the Indian middle batting order continued to falter, presenting itself as a topic for concern with the 2019 World Cup approaching. India couldn’t get the desired finish for the 2nd consecutive ODI, as only 55 runs came from the last 10 overs, something similar to what happened earlier in the 4th ODI.
Virat Kohli said that after India is done with the South Africa series, they will try to find the loopholes in their middle batting order, in a bid to improve and strengthen the team. He said,
“When three guys at the top are playing well and scoring consistently, every now and then you get an opportunity where you might not click, and when this series is wrapped up we’ll look to think about what we can do to improve and strengthen as we move forward.”
Virat Kohli wants to defeat South Africa 5-1
While being unsure if the 6th ODI will see a changed India line-up, Virat Kohli made it clear that he wanted to win the six-match ODI series 5-1. He said,
“We want to win 5-1 for sure, that doesn’t change, but there’ll be a chance for others to step in as well. The first priority is to win and we’ll do anything to do that again.”
South Africa captain Aiden Markram on India’s superiority
On the other hand, South Africa’s stand-in skipper Aiden Markram, who is filling in the spot for an absent Faf du Plessis, conceded that India were superior than the hosts, and the superior performance deserved the 5th ODI, and ODI series-win. Markram said,
“Credit to the Indians, they played very well today. Still happy with what we had to chase out there today. Our batting wasn’t up to scratch, and it is hard to keep up the momentum when you lose wickets in clumps. These are some quality Indian players in good form so credit to them, they nailed the execution of their plans.”
India spinners excelled, but South Africa will defend pride in 6th ODI
“They’ve (Indian bowlers) bowled well, they took wickets and the more we play them the better we’ll get. So all credit to them (the Indian spinners), and we’ll look to improve our skills against quality wrist spin.”
After losing the ODI series to India in the 5th ODI, Aiden Markram said that South Africa will have a lot of pride to play for in the 6th ODI, and they would try and play the perfect Protean game to defend it. He said,
“Lot of pride to play for in the dead-rubber and we will look to bounce back and end the ODI series on a positive note at Centurion. We’ll try to work on putting that perfect game together in the next one.”