Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav's magical wrist spin outfoxed a depleted South Africa as India romped to a crushing nine-wicket win in the second ODI to reclaim the pole position in the ICC rankings in Centurion. India now lead the six-match series 2-0 as they literally annihilated the home team which had the ignominy of being shot out for a paltry 118 in 32.3 overs -- their lowest-ever score at home.
Chahal recorded his career-best ODI figures of 5 for 22 in 8.2 overs and was superbly complemented by Kuldeep (3/20 in 6 overs) with none of the Proteas batsmen able to read them off their hands nor off the pitch. Interestingly Chahal's figures were best by any Indian bowler on South African soil eclipsing Yuvraj Singh's 4 for 6 against Namibia at Pietermaritzburg during 2003 World Cup. It was a walk in the park for the batsmen as Shikhar Dhawan (51 no) helped himself to a nice half-century in company of skipper Kohli (46 no) to get India atop the 50-over rankings, finishing the match in 20.3overs.
However ICC will not be releasing the ranking list till the end of the series as it is a convention. The end of the match bordered on farcical as on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock called for lunch with India needing only two runs for a victory. The umpires went by the book to call for lunch as 19 overs of Indian innings was possible before the break.
However commentators Mike Haysman and Sunil Gavaskar were very critical of the rigid ICC 'Playing Conditions' with players required to comeback for scoring two runs. Probably to make a point, India played a maiden over before Kohli got a couple to finish off the match. It was once again the wiry-framed Chahal and chubby- cheeked Kuldeep, who bamboozled the batsmen with their difficult art-form with a collective haul of 8 for 42 -- best ever by spin duo in an ODI on South African soil. While AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis' absence is an advantage, the performance on South African soil by the spinners will go a long way in shedding the tag of being backyard bullies.
Chahal struck in his second over as Quinton de Kock (20) was caught in the deep trying to pull his leg-break. It soon became two wickets in two balls, as new skipper Aiden Markram (8) played a poor stroke off a Kuldeep half- tracker in the very next over being caught in the deep as Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a well-judged catch. Four balls later, David Miller tried to drive a perfectly dipping leg break delivery and offered a simple catch in the slips. South Africa lost 3 wickets for without any runs in the space of 6 balls and never recovered from thereon. Khaya Zondo (25) and JP Duminy (25) added 48 runs for the fifth wicket to stem the rot but only for a brief period.
In this meantime, India deployed Hardik Pandya again and Kedar Jadhav (0-11) as well to eat up a few overs. But the procession began once the wrist-spinners came back in action. Zondo miscued one off Chahal in the 27th over and was caught at midwicket, with Pandya latching on second attempt. South Africa barely crossed 100 in that over, and then Chahal came with another breakthrough, trapping Duminy plumb lbw.
The Proteas then lost their last five wickets for 11 runs and were bowled out in the 33rd over. Chahal trapped Morne Morkel (1) leg before as well, while Kuldeep got rid of Kagiso Rabada (1) with a wrong one, another leg-before. Chasing a paltry 119 for victory, India started off in hectic manner. Rohit Sharma (15) outlined the intent to go for a demoralizing blow to the opposition as he pulled Morne Morkel (0-30) for a six over midwicket off the 3rd ball of the innings.
While he looked good at the wicket, Rohit couldn't break his poor run on South African soil and was out caught at fine leg off Kagiso Rabada (1-24). The latter had troubled Rohit throughout, and nearly had him earlier when a confident shout for caught behind was turned around off DRS in the batsman's favour. But this was the only success for the Proteas as Dhawan and Kohli ground their disheartened bowling attack to dust. The duo put on a chanceless 93-run partnership for the 2nd wicket, putting on a show for the capacity crowd at Supersport Park