De Kock, Morkel power SAfrica to win against India

Rajkot, October 18

Opening batsman Quinton de Kock provided the early flourish with the bat with his seventh century while fast bowler Morne Morkel applied the finishing touch with four wickets as South Africa beat India by 18 runs today to take a 2-1 series lead.

The 22-year-old de Kock continued his purple patch in ODIs against India, scoring his fourth century in seven innings against the opponents to set up South Africa’s total of 270-7 in 50 overs after they chose to bat on winning the toss.

The hosts lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (13) early to Morkel but looked well poised for a victory charge with half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (65) and Virat Kohli (77). Rohit and Kohli added 72 for the second wicket before the former fell to a smart return catch from JP Duminy. Kohli then added 80 for the next wicket with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (47) to keep India in hunt before Morkel’s strikes. India could only manage 252-6 in their 50 overs.

Earlier, South Africa sent David Miller to open the innings to help him regain form and the new opening pair gave the touring side the ideal start with a stand of 72. India’s Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra stemmed the flow of runs while bowling in tandem and gave away 79 runs between themselves in their 20 overs, picking up a wicket each.

De Kock, who hit 11 fours and a six in his knock, added another 118 for the third wicket with Faf du Plessis (60) to set up a solid platform for Proteas for a late assault. Du Plessis lived a charmed life on his way to his third consecutive 50 in the series. Suresh Raina and Dhawan dropped him twice while the right-hander was also caught when on 16 but replays showed Mohit Sharma’s delivery was a no-ball.