India won the first ODI in their six-match series against South Africa in Durban, chasing down the hosts’ total of 269 – 8, to claim a six-wicket victory, with more than 4 overs to spare. The win was built on a landmark century from captain Virat Kohli, who combined with Ajinkya Rahane in a 189 third-wicket partnership that brought their team to the brink of victory.
Kohli’s 112 was not only the 33rd of his ODI career, but, in achieving his first in South Africa, he completed a full set, having scored a century in each ICC full member state’s home country.
Rahane also set a personal milestone in scoring his fifth consecutive ODI half-century, only the third Indian batsman to manage that feat. His 79 ensured he joins an exclusive club that consists of Kohli himself (twice) and Sachin Tendulkar.
Their contribution somewhat eclipsed the effort earlier of his opposite number, South African captain Faf du Plessis, who scored his 9th ODI century in the home side’s innings, as they chose to bat first having won the toss. However, despite his 120, the South African batsmen failed to build any big partnerships, and du Plessis lacked support to build a big total.
The South African momentum was really checked by the Indian spinners of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who conceded just 79 runs from the 20 overs they bowled between them, picking up 5 wickets in the process. Yadav claimed a career-best of 3 -43, whilst Chahal finished with 2 – 45.
By contrast, the combined South African spin attack of Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Aiden Markram conceded 51 runs from the combined 12 overs they bowled, and did not take any wickets.
It meant that South Africa did not get the total that they should have, with du Plessis later claiming that they were 60 runs short of what they needed,
Indian openers Rohit Sharma (20) and Shikhar Dhawan (35) both fell when well set, but then Kohli and Rahane took the match away from the hosts, with a partnership that was not only the highest for a third-wicket partnership against South Africa, but the third highest for any wicket of all time against the Proteas. Both Kohli and Rahane were out just before the end, but by then the outcome of the match had been decided.
The teams now head to Centurion Park on Sunday for the second ODI.