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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Kohli acknowledges 'collective effort' of his history makers

Kohli acknowledges 'collective effort' of his history makers

February 14, 2018 10:11 IST

India captain Virat Kohli and his teammates celebrate victory over South Africa in the 5th ODI at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday

IMAGE: India captain Virat Kohli and his teammates celebrate victory over South Africa in the 5th ODI at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. Photograph: BCCI

Rohit Sharma's century helped India wrap up the One-Day International series against hosts South Africa with a 73-run victory at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

 

India took an unassailable 4-1 lead in the six-match series as Sharma finally came good with the bat, scoring 115 after India were asked to bat first and amassed 274 for seven wickets in their 50 overs.

South Africa, who needed victory to keep alive their hopes of levelling the series, were all out for 201 in response.

No Indian men's side since its first tour in South Africa back in 1992, has ever won a series across any format. They did win a one-off T20 match in 2006 -- their first ever shortest format but it was a single match event.

India captain Virat Kohli is ecstatic after winning the match 

IMAGE: India captain Virat Kohli is ecstatic after winning the match. Photograph: BCCI

The team under Kohli achieved what neither among Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or Mahendra Singh Dhioni could ever accomplish -- win a full fledged series in the Rainbow Nation.

"Only one team had the pressure of losing this series and we knew that. It's history and the guys have worked hard for it. Every since the third Test in Johannesburg it's been a good time for us. It's been a collective effort to create history," an ecstatic Kohli said after the match.

"When three guys at the top are being consistent, the guys who get an opportunity every now and then might not click. After this series is wrapped up we'll sit down and think about where to improve. For now, 4-1 feels great. We want to win 5-1 for sure, but yeah, there might a scenario for a few more guys to get a chance next match. But the ultimate priority is to win and we'll do anything we can to win," the skipper added.

 Rohit Sharma bats en route his match-winning knock of 115

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma bats en route his match-winning knock of 115. Photograph: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

India replace South Africa at the top of the International Cricket Council's ODI rankings. India's ODI series victory came after they lost 2-1 in the three Tests played between the two countries last month.

After a series of low scores, Rohit Sharma came good when it ultimately mattered.

Sharma had struggled with his batting on tour but got India off to a storming start as he finally found form. He was dropped on 96 by Tabraiz Shamsi before going onto make his 17th ODI century, reached off just 107 balls.

"It was a long time coming. I just had to keep myself in a good frame of mind. I didn’t feel I had to change a lot and I knew that the runs would come," he said after being named man of the match.

Lungi Ngidi (right) celebrates with teammates on claiming the wicket of Hardik Pandya 

IMAGE: Lungi Ngidi (right) celebrates with teammates on claiming the wicket of Hardik Pandya. Photograph: BCCI

But his dismissal, for India's fourth wicket, precipitated a mini collapse as 21-year-old fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi took four wickets in quick succession to finish with figures of 4-51.

India's last 10 overs produced only 55 runs and handed South Africa a gettable target at a run rate of 5.50.

But the hosts were 65-3 when AB de Villiers went cheaply after a rash shot in the 13th over and once Hashim Amla departed for 71 after a needless run out, home hopes were dashed.

South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen during his quickfire knock of 39 off 42 balls 

IMAGE: South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen during his quickfire knock of 39 off 42 balls. Photograph: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

A cameo 39 from wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen, who had been the hero of South Africa's victory in the last match, could not stem the inevitable.

Kuldeep Yadav cleaned up the tail to finish with 4-57 in his 10 overs.

"We lost wickets in clumps and never got any momentum although it was a decent tally to chase," South Africa's stand-in captain Aiden Markram said.

The last match of the series is at Centurion in Pretoria on Friday and will be followed by three Twenty20 clashes.

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