Morne Morkel hunt India
Rajkot was the venue for the third ODI between India and South Africa but due to off the field political protests their were doubts about whether the match will take place or not but thankfully for the fans and players the match did start on time amid security concerns.
South Africa won the toss and elected to field first on a pitch which from the outset looked a batting track. Interestingly the proteas sent the struggling David Miller to open the innings in order to help him regain his form. This decision was partially true as South Africa got off to a good start of 72 runs. Miller was dismissed for 33 runs off the bowling off Harbhajan Singh. Amla, who was the next man in, was dismissed cheaply for 5 runs. At this point a good partnership was needed and this was provided by the in form Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock when they notched up a partnership of 118 runs and got the Saffers in a position of strength and provided them with the all important launching pad. Wicket keeper batsman de Kock scored 103 off 118 balls including 11 fours. But the visitors lost a flurry of wickets as they slipped from 205/2 to 210/5 and now India were dictating terms South Africa had lost their ace batsman for death overs hitting AB de Villiers. South Africa never got the momentum needed in the last 10 overs partially due to to some good Indian bowling and the pitch which was now holding up a bit and free flwoing batting was not easy. Finally their innings concluded at 270/7. Farhaan Behardien played a decent hand with 33 runs including a six on the last ball of the innings.
India got off to a steady start in their chase and were 40/0 after 0 overs but this could have been easily been one or two down as the Proteas spilled a few chances. India lost Dhawan as the first wicket when he was dismissed for 13 runs. Kohli and Rohit snitched a decent partnership in excess of 50 runs and kept India on track but Duminy removed the threatening Rohit Sharma for 65 runs at a very crucial stage of the match as Sharma had assessed the conditions to perfection and was looking good for a big one. India scored just 145 runs from over now 10 to 40 as South Africa tightened the screws around the Indians. Kohli and Dhoni were milking the singles but were not able to hit a big shot every now and then. At this crucial juncture Morne Morkel dismissed captain Dhoni which proved to be a deadly blow as they could not resurrect the innings form their lost wickets in a heap. Virat Kohli shows some resistance but was eventually dismissed for 77 runs.
Morne Morkel was the star of the show as he picked up four wickets for 39 runs and was at one stage picked two wickets of two balls. South Africa won easily in the end by 18 runs and now lead the five match series 2-1. Morkel was rightfully declared man of the match.
The next match will take place on the 22nd of October in Chennai.