Morkel leaves India in Morne-ing

Fast-bowler claims four wickets as South Africa claim 18-run win.

News Desk October 18, 2015
Morkel put his height to superb use to register his best figures against India. PHOTO: AFP

Man of the match Morne Morkel claimed 4-39 and Quinton de Kock hit 103 to give South Africa an unlikely 18-run win over India at Rajkot that saw the Proteas go 2-1 up in the five-match series.

The hosts were seemingly cruising on their way to a below-par target of 271 after a strong start saw them keep the run-rate well within reach.

But they failed to do justice to their reputation of being superb chasers by somehow conspiring to lose from a position where they needed just 123 from the last 20 overs with 10 wickets in hand.

Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Morkel for 13 in the 11th over but Rohit Sharma continued his fine form with a 74-ball 65 to give India a solid start.

Skipper and star of the show in the last match, MS Dhoni, joined Virat Kohli, who was restored to his preferred position at number three, when JP Duminy took a sharp return catch with the score at 113-2.

It was smooth sailing for India from there on till the final 20 overs, when the runs suddenly started to dry up. The pressure showed as the run-rate climbed from just over six to nearly 10 and Dhoni sliced Morkel to Dale Steyn at short third man to leave India with an uphill task.

Suresh Raina followed soon after on a silver duck and Morkel all but ended the match with the wickets of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane off successive balls.

Earlier in the day, de Kock hit 103 as South Africa made 270-7 on a flat pitch after electing to bat first.

The 22-year-old opener had been in indifferent form of late but scored his seventh ODI century — his fourth against India — with 11 boundaries and a six.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.

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