India end 25-year wait to win first bilateral ODI series in South Africa
When Hardik Pandya ran Hashim Amla out in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the writing was almost on the wall. India were on the brink of a historic first ever bilateral ODI series win on South African soil. And it happened.
When Hardik Pandya ran Hashim Amla out in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the writing was almost on the wall. India were on the brink of a historic first ever bilateral ODI series win on South African soil. And it happened. Chasing 275 to win, South Africa folded up for 201 to give India a 4-1 lead, thereby sealing the six-match series in visitors' favour.
Rohit Sharma (115) and Kuldeep Yadav (4/57) were the stars of the day for Virat Kohli & Co, who have broken the jinx for Indian teams that have travelled to the rainbow nation since 1992 but failed to take the trophy home.
India in South Africa (bilateral ODI series results)
1992: Lost 2-5
2006: Lost 0-4
2011: Lost 2-3
2013: Lost 0-2
2018: Leading 4-1 (one match left)
It was also India's ninth consecutive bilateral ODI series win, which puts them in the second position on the all-time list, behind West Indies' run of 14 in the 1980s.
Most successive bilateral ODI series wins:
West Indies - 14 (May 1980 to March 1988)
India - 9 (June 2016 to present)
Australia - 8 (April 2009 to June 2010)
Pakistan - 7 (January 2011 to February 2012)
South Africa - 7 (August 2015 to February 2017)
Also, Kohli is now second on the list of captains with most ODI wins with minimum 40 matches in command. Here's the list:
Ricky Ponting (Australia) - 33
Virat Kohli (India) - 32
Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards (West Indies) - 31
Hansie Cronje (South Africa) and Michael Clarke (Australia) - 29
The win also helped India cement their position as No. 1 team on the ICC Team Rankings for ODIs. Irrespective of the result in the final ODI of the series on Friday, India will remain on top of the list.
"Only one team had the pressure of losing the series right from the start and that was South Africa," Kohli said after India's win on Tuesday.
"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 teammates, the support staff and everybody. It feels wonderful to be 4-1 up.
"We'll look to wrap it up well. We want to win 5-1 for sure; that doesn't change, but there will 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," the India captain added.