Cricket: India cruise to victory as Chahal puts South Africa in a spin
PRETORIA (Reuters) – Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took career-best figures as India cruised to a thumping nine-wicket One-Day International victory over a woeful South Africa on Sunday, though their moment of triumph was reduced to a farce by the umpires.
Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock stuck to the rules and called for a lunch break with the tourists needing just two runs for victory at Centurion.
That ensured the final act was played out 40 minutes later in front of a sparse crowd, a decision that left both teams bemused.
Chahal finished with 5-22 in 8.2 overs, ripping through the middle-order as India won the toss and skittled their hosts for 118, South Africa’s lowest total in home ODI matches.
India then reached the victory target in 20 overs to humiliate their hosts.
After victory in the opening match of the six-game series in Durban, India always looked in control of the chase as opener Shikhar Dhawan (51 not out from 56 balls) and captain Virat Kohli (46 not out from 50 balls) made light work of the home attack.
The third match in the series will be played in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The decision to call for lunch with the game all but over will be the major talking point to come out of the match, but it should not overshadow what was a dominant display from a highly impressive Indian unit.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also recorded his career-best figures of 3-20 in six overs as South Africa slipped from 51 for one to lose their last nine wickets for 67 runs.
“The spinners were outstanding, it was a hard surface so they were getting pace and bounce off the wicket as well,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“We want to play positive cricket and take the opposition on. We know their middle order is inexperienced and we want to cash in on that.”
The home side were captained by 23-year-old Aiden Markram in just his third ODI game with both experienced batsmen Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers missing with finger injuries.
They made a cautious start, losing their first wicket two balls shy of 10 overs with just 39 on the scoreboard as Hashim Amla (23) was dismissed.
The introduction of the spinners proved the catalyst for South Africa’s collapse, with Chahal picking up the wickets of innings top-scorers JP Duminy and debutant Khaya Zondo, who both scored 25.
“There were a couple of soft options (shots), starting with myself, so I am going to have to lead from the front and do better going forward,” Markram said.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis