Centurion: Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav’s magical wrist spin outfoxed a depleted South Africa as India romped to a crushing nine-wicket win in the second ODI to reclaim the pole position in the ICC rankings here.
India now lead the six-match series 2-0 as they annihilated the home team which had the ignominy of being shot out for a paltry 118 in 32.3 overs — their lowest-ever score at home.
Chahal recorded his career-best ODI figures of 5/22 in 8.2 overs and was superbly complemented by Kuldeep (3/20 in six overs) with none of the Proteas batsmen able to read them off their hands or off the pitch.
Interestingly, Chahal’s figures were best by any Indian bowler on the South African soil eclipsing Yuvraj Singh’s 4/6 against Namibia at Pietermar-itzburg during the 2003 World Cup.
It was a walk in the park for the batsmen as Shikhar Dhawan (51 n.o.) helped himself to a half century in company of skipper Kohli (46 n.o.) to get India atop the 50 over rankings, finishing the match in 20.3 overs.
However, the ICC will not be releasing the rankings list till the end of the series as it is a convention. The end of the match bordered on farcical as on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock called for lunch with India needing only two runs for a victory.
The umpires went by the book to call for lunch as 19 overs of the Indian innings were possible before the break. However, commentators Mike Haysman and Sunil Gavaskar were very critical of the rigid ICC Playing Conditions with players required to comeback for scoring two runs.
Probably to make a point, India played a maiden over before Kohli got a couple to finish off the match. It was once again Chahal and Kuldeep, who bamboozled the batsmen with their difficult art-form with a collective haul of 8/42 — best ever by spin duo in an ODI on South African soil. While AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis’ absence is an advantage, the performance on South African soil by the spinners will go a long way in shedding the tag of being backyard bullies.
Chahal struck in his second over as Quinton de Kock (20) was caught in the deep trying to pull his leg-break. It soon became two wickets in two balls, as new skipper Aiden Markram (8) played a poor stroke off a Kuldeep half-tracker in the very next over being caught in the deep as Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a well-judged catch.
Four balls later, David Miller tried to drive a perfectly dipping leg break delivery and offered a simple catch in the slips.
South Africa lost three wickets for without any runs in the space of six balls and never recovered from thereon.
Khaya Zondo (25) and J.P. Duminy (25) added 48 runs for the fifth wicket to stem the rot but only for a brief period.
In this meantime, India deployed Hardik Pandya again and Kedar Jadhav (0/11) as well to eat up a few overs.
But the procession began once the wrist spinners came back in action. Zondo miscued one off Chahal in the 27th over and was caught at midwicket, with Pandya latching on second attempt. South Africa barely crossed 100 in that over, and then Chahal came with another breakthrough, trapping Duminy plumb lbw.