Kohli, spinners outclass South Africa by 35 runs
India 299-8 (Kohli 138) beat
South Africa 264-9 (de Villiers 112) by 35 runs
Fourth One-Day International in Chennai
Indian spinners spun a web around the South African batsmen after a magnificent century by Virat Kohli to win the fourth One-Day International series by 35 runs in Chennai, thereby levelling the series.
India won a crucial toss and opted to bat first on a very hot and humid conditions at the MA Chidambaram stadium.
They went with an unchanged side while South Africa were forced to replace the injured Morne Morkel and JP Duminy with Chris Morris and Aaron Phangiso.
Rohit Sharma (21) got India off to a flier scoring four boundaries in three overs. Just when he was looking threatening, Morris (1-55) got rid off him, caught by Faf du Plessis at mid-wicket.
Shikhar Dhawan's (7) poor form continued as he top edged a Kagiso Rabada (3-54) delivery, caught brilliantly down the leg by Quinton de Kock leaving India at 35 for two.
However, a 104-run stand between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane (45) brought things on track for India.
Kohli stamped his authority on the spinners hitting Phangiso and Imran Tahir (0-58) for a six each down the ground while Rahane looked cheeky finding the boundaries giving India the much needed momentum.
Kohli brought up his half-century in 51 deliveries. Just when things were going out of South Africa's hands, Dale Steyn (3-61) dismissed Rahane in the 26th over.
Suresh Raina (53) was promoted up the order and he made most of it by adding 127 runs along with Kohli.
The Indian vice-captain brought up his 23rd century with a six down the ground of Phangiso. His knock was laced with four boundaries and three sixes.
Raina too brought up his half-century, ending his drought for runs after scoring two consecutive ducks in the series.
India reached 261 for three in 44 overs. Just when the platform was set for the lower middle order to explode, South Africa came back strongly at the end conceding just 38 runs in the remaining overs. Courtesy some fine death bowling by Rabada and Steyn.
India got to 299 in their 50 overs having managed only 69 runs in the final 10 overs. Rabada and Steyn were the pick of the bowlers accounting for three wickets each.
Having reverted back to their regular opening combination, South Africa started their chase well scoring 36 in the first five overs.
Mohit Sharma (1-48) accounted for the wicket of Hashim Amla (7), caught at mid-wicket by Dhawan.
De Kock (43) continued from where he left in the previous game plundering Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-68) for a six to take South Africa to 63 for one in 10 overs.
The introduction of spin changed the complexion of the game as Harbhajan Singh (2-50) got de Kock caught at slip and Axar Patel (1-40) removed du Plessis (17) caught behind.
David Miller (6) was trapped by Singh's doosra as South Africa were reeling at 88 for four needing 212 more from 32 overs.
Farhaan Behardien (22) and AB de Villiers (112) stitched a 66-run stand, but the required-run-rate kept climbing with the spinners operating at either end.
Behardien was given a reprieve when a caught behind decision was turned down of Amit Mishra (1-55) but a couple of deliveries later the leg-spinner trapped him lbw.
De Villiers staging a lone battle brought up his half-century with three consecutive boundaries of Kumar in the 33rd over.
He smashed Mishra for couple more boundaries in the next over to bring the target down to 134 from 16 overs.
The South African captain got to his 22nd century with a six down the ground, just like Kohli with his team needing 76 from 42 deliveries.
But Kumar ended de Villiers' resistance with a bouncer, as the latter top edged to MS Dhoni. South Africa eventually managed 264 for nine in the 50 overs falling short of the target by 35 runs.
Even though Kumar managed three wickets, Singh was the pick of the Indian bowlers with two wickets at an economy of five while the rest managed a wicket apiece.
Kohli was adjudged the man of the match for his splendid knock. With the series level at 2-2, the action now shifts to Mumbai for the final ODI on 25th October.
© Cricket World 2015