The Proteas held their nerve to clinch a nail-biting four-run victory over India in the third and final one-day international to register a clean-sweep in the three match series at Six Gun Grill Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.
“Things got a bit crazy there at the end,” said Temba Bavuma at the post match press conference.
Deepak Chahar smashed a quick-fire 54 from 34 deliveries to bring his side to the brink of victory but the South African bowlers kept their nerve and bowled India out for 283 with four balls remaining, in pursuit of 288. South Africa had posted 287 after KL Rahul had won the toss and asked Bavuma’s men to bat first.
“Deepak gave us a chance but it was disappointing to lose out,” said KL Rahul.
Man of the match and series Quinton de Kock was the mainstay of the Proteas effort with the bat, bringing up his 17th ODI century and 6th against India, before falling for 124 from 130 balls with 12 boundaries and two sixes. De Kock and Rassie Van der Dussen (52) had anchored the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 144 from 143 balls after having lost Janneman Malan (1), Bavuma (8) and Aiden Markram (15) early on.
“I like scoring runs against everyone and it is nice to play on good wickets against them,” said De Kock.
“Quinton has been great. He showed us why he is such a valuable asset to the team,” said the South African captain.
However, once De Kock departed, caught in the deep by Shikhar Dhawan from the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah (10-0-52-2), the wickets started to tumble. Van der Dussen departed shortly thereafter while Andile Phehlukwayo (4), Dwaine Pretorius (20), Keshav Maharaj (5) and Sisanda Magala (0) all fell pretty quickly.
“Rassie is taking his game to the next level but all our batters are doing well,” added Bavuma.
David Miller (39) tried to restore the innings with Pretorius as the pair shared in a seventh-wicket stand of 44 from 43 balls but all in all, the Proteas lost seven wickets for 73 runs to be bowled out off the penultimate ball of the innings.
In reply, the Proteas began strongly as Lungi Ngidi (10-0-58-3) had KL Rahul caught by Malan at first slip for just nine. But then a wonderful stand of 98 between Dhawan (61) and Virat Kohli (65) balanced out the match. But the Phehlukwayo (7-0-40-3) grabbed two wickets in one over, having Dhawan caught behind by De Kock and then having Rishabh Pant caught on the cover boundary by Magala for a first-ball duck.
“Guys didn’t give us much of a chance going into this series but hopefully, winning 3-0, will have won us some more fans, including you guys up in the commentary box,” quipped Bavuma.
Kohli fell shortly thereafter, caught at mid-off from a leading edge by Bavuma from the bowling of Maharaj (10-0-39-1). Shreyas Iyer (26) and Suryakumar Yadav (39) looked to be giving India the edge in the chase with a stand of 39 for the fifth wicket but Iyer pulled Magala to fine leg and was well caught by Phehlukwayo before Yadav got a leading edge and popped a ball to Bavuma at mid-off from Pretorius (9.2-0-54-2).
Then Chahar, who smashed five boundaries and two sixes, looked to be taking India to victory but the big moment came in the 48th over when Chahar got a toe-end to his bat and was caught in the covers by Pretorius from the bowling of Ngidi.
“Our bowlers were a bit naughty today but as a group, we have done well as a group. They tried to do a few things which didn’t work,” said Bavuma.
Phehlukwayo then had Bumrah (12) caught by Bavuma at wide mid-off before Pretorius closed out the game, with India needing six from the final over, by having Yuzvendra Chahal caught by Miller in the cover region.
“We got a bit complacent at the end, thinking the game was in the bag, but to come out on top will give us a lot of confidence going forward,” said Bavuma.
*As first published on SuperSport.com