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OTD: India won their first-ever bilateral series in any format in South Africa and rose to No. 1 in world rankings in 2018

OTD: India won their first-ever bilateral series in any format in South Africa and rose to No. 1 in world rankings in 2018

The Indian team has become a very consistent touring side in the last few years and the beginning of this brilliant run has its origin in India’s tour of South Africa in 2018. On that tour, India registered its first-ever bilateral series victory in any format on South African soil. 

Dominant India

The Indian team, inspired by the win in the last match of the Test series in Johannesburg, started the ODI series with a spring in the step. India registered comprehensive victories in the first three matches of the ODI series at Durban, Cape Town, and Centurion. This 3-0 lead put the visitors in a pole position and pushed the Proteas to the backfoot. The skipper Virat Kohli smashed a couple of outstanding centuries to guide his team to glory. 

However, the series was not yet over and the home side made a resounding comeback in the fourth match of the series in Johannesburg. The series was still open as the Proteas could still level the series with two matches left to be played. 

Glory in Gqeberha for the Men in Blue 

The fifth match of the series was almost a must-win encounter for India if they had to grab the series. It was not going to be an easy task as South Africa got back to the rhythm with a comfortable in the previous match. Winning the toss, South Africa invited the Indians to bat first. The Indian opener Rohit Sharma was not having a great series but he stepped up when it mattered the most. He scored 115 runs to lead India to a challenging total of 274 runs in testing conditions. 

One of the main protagonists for India in the series, Kuldeep Yadav, once again rose to the occasion and picked up 4 wickets to trouble the South Africans. He was ably assisted by Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya who took 2 wickets each. This brilliant bowling performance caused a collapse and the Proteas were restricted to 201 runs in the run chase losing the match by a big margin of 73 runs. 

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