India vs South Africa | Virat Kohli hails ‘top-class’ Rahane after first ODI win

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India vs South Africa | Virat Kohli hails ‘top-class’ Rahane after first ODI win

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SportsCafe Desk


Virat Kohli has heaped praise on Ajinkya Rahane after the duo’s brilliant 189-run partnership helped India cruise to a six-wicket win against South Africa at Kingsmead. The skipper also applauded the ‘brave’ approach of wrist spinners Kuldeep Yuadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for their five wicket haul.

Despite limiting South Africa to a paltry 269 runs in the first innings, India were visibly unsettled by the early wickets of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, given their terrible record at Durban until Thursday. However, Ajinkya Rahane came in to play a composed knock alongside the skipper and forged a 189-run partnership for the third wicket, which took the game beyond South Africa’s reach. 

Their partnership is now the third highest wicket stand for India in SA surpassing Sachin Tendulkar-Mohammad Kaif’s 102 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup. Rahane is now increasingly looking like India’s solution to the no.4 spot ahead of the World Cup next year.

"Jinx (Rahane) is a top-class player. We understood fast bowling was going to be a big factor in this tour. He was superb, he took on the fast bowlers," said Kohli after the game.

He was superb, he took on the fast bowlers

Virat Kohli, on Ajinkya Rahane's performance in Durban

However, Kohli remained the man of the match with yet another brilliant ton, his 33rd in ODIs, as he steered India to their first-ever win in Durban. The skipper notched up another flawless innings under tricky conditions where he scored 112 runs in 119 balls that included ten boundaries.

“Yeah it was quite special,” said Kohli, not trying to steal the thunder from an amazing collective performance by team India.

Despite winning the toss to bat first on a batting friendly wicket, India didn’t let any South African batsman, barring skipper Faf du Plessis, get comfortable on the Kingsmead turf. After Jasprit Bumrah started the onslaught early on taking the reliable Hashim Amla out of the equation, it was the Chahal-Yadav show from thereon.

While Yuzvendra Chahal scalped the wickets of Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram, the chinaman bowler dismissed the likes of JP Duminy, David Miller and Chris Morris, conceding 79 runs combined in the process. The Indian skipper was delighted the way the duo approached their first game in South Africa.

“And then the two wrist-spinners (Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal), outstanding bowling by both of them. They are working wonderfully for the team. They're playing in South Africa for the first time. They were very brave, they were throwing it up and that's why they got wickets. As a captain, it's outstanding when you have two guys who know what they want to do," said Kohli.

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