Rohit, Kuldeep shine in maiden bilateral series win in SA

Rohit, Kuldeep shine in maiden bilateral series win in SA

India's win was set up by 115 from opener Rohit Sharma - his first significant score of the tour - and sealed by wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the standout bowlers in the series and constant thorns in the side of the South African batsmen.

India's only failure in South Africa came in the fourth ODI, when South Africa took advantage in a rain-shortened game to pull one back and make it 3-1. Rohit Sharma was declared "Player of the Match".

Ngidi ran in hard and tried to hit the top of off-stump and he was rewarded for his efforts with three middle-order wickets as he beat his previous ODI best of two for 52, attained on Saturday. The squad: JP Duminy (C), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.

Rohit led the tourists, striking his 17th ODI century before chinaman Kuldeep Yadav returned figures of 4/51 to bowl the Proteas out for 201, in their chase of 274.

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As Kohli-led team created history of becoming the first Indian side to win a series in South Africa - across formats - something that Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or MS Dhoni - could not accomplish, he beamed at the post-match presentation. Having been involved in the run outs of skipper Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, it was important that he made it count.

In the next over, Hardik Pandya sent Jean Paul Duminy (1) to the pavilion on the total of 55. His breezy 23-ball 34 eased a lot of pressure on Rohit, who preferred not to take first strike in this match. South Africa have averaged 22.65 with the bat and 50.20 with the ball; both the worst in any bilateral series at home for them. "In our dressing room, we always talk about how we are batting and how we are playing the ball", Rohit said when asked how he manages to retain that confidence during such a run. But, his run out in the 35th over, by Pandya proved to be a blow that South Africa couldn't recover from. He was joined in the middle by Virat Kohli (36 off 54 balls, 2 fours), who played an uncharacteristic innings belying his rich form.

"Two guys got run out before me so there was nothing to celebrate about".

For Kohli, this is a significant milestone in his three and half years at the helm as this is also his first series win against a top nation on their soil. Lungisani Ngidi took 4 wickets for South Africa.

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