Kohli steers India to emphatic victory in Centurion

Virat Kohli (AP)
Virat Kohli (AP)

Cape Town - Virat Kohli put his indelible stamp on a famous Indian victory when he scored his 35th ODI century - his third in the current series - to lead his side to a decisive 5-1 victory over the Proteas following an eight-wicket victory with almost 18 overs to spare in the final ODI at SuperSport Park on Friday evening.

Scorecard: Proteas v India, 6th ODI

It has been a performance that has outshone any other international captain to come to this country.

It was only appropriate that he himself should hit the winning runs with a classic straight drive off Imran Tahir, having during the course of his innings (129 off 96 balls, 19 fours and 2 sixes) reached the milestone of more than 500 runs in the six-match series.

The only way the Proteas could defend their sub-par total of 204 after they had once again be bowled out inside the 50 overs was to take a lot of early wickets. 

However that never looked like happening as Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli put on 61 for the second wicket and then Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane a further unbeaten 126 for the third.

The fact that India hit 19 boundaries in the first 20 overs of their innings was indicative of the command they exercised over the South African attack.

The irony of the Proteas poor batting performance was the fact that this time the major damage was inflicted by the three Indian seamers rather more than the spinners with Shardul Thakur, playing his first match of the series, taking 4/52 and the three seamers seven wickets in total between them.

It was an oft repeat story for the South African batting line-up.

The only match they dominated was the one that was reduced to a virtual T20 affair but in the other contests they were unable to post big partnerships with very few individual scores of note.

India had five centuries in the series with the only reply for the Proteas coming from Faf du Plessis in his lone appearance before dropping out injured.

The one positive this evening was the way Khaya Zondo grabbed his opportunity to make his career best 54 (74 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes).

But there could be no getting away from the fact that India outplayed the Proteas in all disciplines virtually throughout the series.

It goes without saying that Kohli was named Man of the Match and Man of the Series.

The two teams now shift towards the three-match T20I series, which starts on Sunday at the Wanderers (13:30).

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