Mumbai: A rampaging South Africa clinched the one-day cricket series with a 3-2 margin after India slumped to a humiliating 214-run defeat in a completely lopsided series decider here on Sunday.
South Africa rode on centuries from Quinton de Kock (109), Faf du Plessis 133 (retired hurt) and AB de Villiers (119) to post a mammoth 438 for four while batting first as India were bowled out for 224 in 36 overs.
Opener de Kock's 87-ball knock was laced with 17 fours and a six -- his eighth century overall and fifth against India. Du Plessis's 115-ball stay at the crease was punctuated by 9 fours and 6 sixes while De Villiers, who hit his third ton of the series, hit 3 fours and 11 sixes in his 61-ball knock to completely demoralised the hosts.
Shell-shocked, the home team batsmen could not deal with the herculean task of scoring at 8.78 runs an over and down without much fight to leave the capacity crowd thoroughly disappointed with their lacklustre display that came as an anti-climax at the end of a well-fought series.
Out-of-touch opener Shikhar Dhawan made 60 in 59 balls, while Ajinkya Rahane showed how good he was on top of the order while making a quick fire 87 in 58 balls with 3 sixes and 9 fours before falling to Dale Steyn.
Among the other leading batsmen, Rohit Sharma (16) and Suresh Raina (12) got starts before departing while last match centurion Virat Kohli flopped and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ninth out for 27.
Pace spearhead Dale Steyn took 3 for 38 while youngster Kagiso Rabada impressed again with figures of 4 for 41. Leg spinner Imran Tahir (2 for 50) and Kyle Abbott (1 for 39) were the other successful bowlers.
The visitors, thus, clinched the best-of-five series, having won the first (in Kanpur), third (Rajkot) and the decider here while India kept themselves in the hunt with victories in the second (Indore) and fourth (Chennai) games.
This was also the visitors' first-ever win at this ground after three straight losses earlier to the hosts.
The visitors thus won their first ODI bilateral rubber in India, after having lost three (in 1991-92, 1999-2000 and 2009-10), and drawn the other (2005-06) in previous attempts. They won the preceding best-of-three T20 series 2-0 (one game was washed out).
The two teams now will fight it out in the four-Test series to follow from November 5 in Mohali.
Today, South Africa finished with the 17th 400-plus score made in ODI history and the sixth recorded on Indian soil to virtually seal the game in their favour. It was also the joint third-highest score in ODI history.
It was the highest total too at this ground, overtaking New Zealand's 358 for 6 against Canada in the 2011 World Cup.
De Kock set the tone en route to his second century of the series, while De Plessis started slowly only to open out into a six-hitting spree before retiring to the pavilion due to leg cramps.
And to complete the hosts' agony De Villiers smashed an incredible 11 sixes to completely flatten the bowling while racing to his third ton of the series.
De Kock and du Plessis put on 154 runs in 137 balls for the second wicket and then the latter and his captain got involved in a stand of 164 in 103 balls before du Plessis retired when the score read 351 for 2 after completing his first century of the series following three half tons in the first three games.
South Africa piled on a staggering 144 runs in the last 10 overs in which 12 sixes were hit to grind the Indian bowlers to the ground.
All the five frontline bowlers went for runs, though Harbhajan bowled a tight spell of 7 overs for 36 runs initially. But he finally finished with 1 for 70.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-106) and Mohit Sharma (1-84) were the most expensive while Axar Patel and Amit Mishra finished without a wicket after conceding 65 and 78 runs respectively.
The Indian fielding was also pathetic with quite a few catches grassed, two of those off Du Plessis before he had reached his hundred.
Chasing the formidable total, India lost in-form opener
Rohit Sharma (16) at 22 and Kohli (7) at 44 in the 8th over.
Sharma was dismissed by Kyle Abbott, caught off a leading edge at third man when charging at the bowler while Kohli played an atrocious shot, chasing a wide ball and edging behind.
Dhawan and Rahane, after being given one 'life' each by the rival team's fielders, put on 112 runs in 89 balls to lead the way, but the task always looked improbable.
Dhawan, with just 66 runs to his credit after the first four games, struck eight fours before being caught brilliantly off a leading edge at extra cover by Hashim Amla off Kagiso Rabada.
Suresh Raina proved unequal to the task and opened his leg stump when trying to turn Rabada's fuller length ball and was castled for 12 to leave the hosts at 172 for 4 around the halfway mark of the innings.
Though Rahane batted brilliantly, the target always looked too distant to reach, and when he was caught pulling Steyn at mid-wicket in the 27th over, the game was virtually in the visitors' pocket though Dhoni was still at the crease.