South Africa vs India 4th ODI: Klaasen’s blitz keeps series alive

Heinrich Klaasen 43 South Africa India 4th ODI Johannesburg cricket

Heinrich Klaasen (right) leaps in the air after leading South Africa to victory

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen hammered a 27-ball 43 to not only help the Proteas stun India by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in the fourth ODI in Johannesburg, but also reduce the series deficit to 3-1.

With the series comprising of six matches, South Africa also kept themselves alive and denied India the chance to claim an unassailable 4-0 lead.

In addition to keeping the series alive, South Africa also extended their unbeaten streak in pink ODIs, which are used to raise awareness of breast cancer.

India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first, but his side were unable to get off to a good start as opener Rohit Sharma was brilliantly caught and bowled by Kagiso Rabada for five runs.

However, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli led India’s recovery as they amassed a 158-run partnership, during which both batsmen sailed past their fifties.

Virat Kohli 75 South Africa India 4th ODI Johannesburg cricket

Virat Kohli struck his 46th half-century in ODI cricket

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With India cruising, the Proteas found themselves in an all too familiar position where India were dominating the game.

But, Chris Morris provided the vital breakthrough as Kohli was caught by David Miller at cover for 75, which came off 83 balls and included seven boundaries and a six.

Shortly after Kohli’s dismissal, play was halted for almost an hour after due to inclement weather as there were numerous lightning strikes around the Wanderers.

Once play resumed, South Africa began to claw their way back into the game, starting with the dismissal of Dhawan, who scored 109 off 105 deliveries, which included 10 boundaries and two sixes.

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Shikhar Dhawan scored his 13th ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With his century, Dhawan made history by becoming the first Indian and ninth player overall to score a hundred in their 100th ODI.

India began to lose wickets at regular intervals once Dhawan was gone, but wicketkeeper MS Dhoni struck an unbeaten 42 to help the tourists finish on 289/7 off their 50 overs.

Rabada and Lungi Ngidi picked up two wickets apiece, while Morris and Morne Morkel chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 290 to win initially, South Africa made a solid start to their innings as stand-in captain Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla put together a 43-run partnership before Markram was given out lbw off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah for 22.

Markram reviewed the decision, but his gamble didn’t pay off as the on-field call was upheld.

As soon as Markram was removed, the players came off the field due to lightning and rain.

After almost two hours, the match got underway again, but it was cut down to 28 overs and South Africa’s target was revised to 202.

JP Duminy fell shortly after the delay as he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav for 10 runs.

Hashim Amla went on to make 33 prior to becoming Kuldeep’s second victim, while AB de Villiers stuck an 18-ball 26 before he was caught by Rohit at long leg off the bowling of Hardik Pandya.

Just as South Africa seemed to be struggling, Miller and Klaasen stabilised the innings with a 72-run partnership before Miller was given out lbw off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal for a 28-ball 39.

Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo finished things off for the Proteas as they forged an unbeaten 33-run stand.

Klaasen ended up making 43 off 27 balls, which included five boundaries and a six, while Phehlukwayo remained undefeated on 23 off five deliveries, which included a boundary and three sixes.

Kuldeep was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Chahal, Bumrah and Pandya claimed one wicket each.

Kohli was gutted to have lost, and said: “The second innings, we got a difference of 35 between runs and balls. It became a T20 game. No-balls are fine lines. SA pulled through, they deserved to win, we didn’t. The pitch got faster in the evening, the guys didn’t settle in the second half.

“The ball was a bit wet, not too wet, our spinners got a bit of turn, they improvised and it came off. The game got shorter and it worked in their favour, having to go after the bowlers.”

Markram was thrilled to have won, and said: “Super relieved to have got over the line today. To be able to put pressure on the Indians is a good feeling. A blessing in disguise to have that break to break their momentum. It worked out well, happy to restrict them to 290.

“The message was to put fear aside and go out and express ourselves. We’re going to keep fighting, still not at our absolute best, but one step at a time.”

Klaasen was named Man of the Match, and said: “Unbelievable feeling, the best feeling in my career. 100% nervous. Have done it before in amateur cricket. I just want to play, thought I had to open today.”

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