Cricket

South Africa stays alive in ODI series vs India

(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) South Africa stayed alive in the one-day international series against India with an enthralling five-wicket win in the fourth game on Saturday.

South Africa chased down a revised target of 202, ultimately with ease, after David Miller was bowled off a no-ball, given a life, and used it crack a match-turning 39 from 28 balls.

Miller needed the help of Heinrich Klaasen, who dealt with huge pressure in just his second ODI to score 43 not out off 27 and take South Africa home.

South Africa ended on 207-5, winning with 2 1/2 overs to spare when Andile Phehlukwayo launched his third six to win the game. Phehlukwayo hit 23 off just five balls, swinging at everything with luster to hurry South Africa to victory.

South Africa's innings was reduced to 28 overs, and the home team was given a target of 202, after a long delay for lightning and rain. There was also a delay in India's innings for weather.

India still leads the six-game series 3-1 but South Africa's victory in the rain-shortened game at the Wanderers gave it a glimpse of hope that it could avoid a first-ever ODI series loss at home to the Indians.

For India, which won the toss and batted first, opener Shikhar Dhawan made a century and captain Virat Kohli pummeled South Africa's bowlers again but the tourists lost momentum after those two departed to post 289-7 in 50 overs.

India was flying and on course for a score well over 300 when Dhawan and Kohli put together a 158-run stand for the second wicket off just 163 balls.

Dhawan made 109, celebrating his 100th ODI with a 13th career century. His century came off just 99 balls.

Kohli supported him, hitting his 75 off 83 balls to continue a run of red-hot form this series, which India had completely dominated until Saturday. Kohli has hit two centuries and 46 not out to go with his 75 in Johannesburg.

Chris Morris broke the partnership with Kohli's wicket and Morne Morkel followed up to dismiss Dhawan four overs later. That double strike by South Africa combined with a near hour-long interruption for lightning ended India's momentum.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was 42 not out at the end but India scored just 59 runs off the last 10 overs to give South Africa a way back into the series.

South Africa was still way behind, though, when Hashim Amla fell for 33 off the first ball of the 14th over, and still needed 125 runs from just 83 deliveries to avoid series defeat.

AB de Villiers, back from injury, briefly lifted South African hopes with his 26 off 18, which included successive sixes in a brutal over off spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Chahal and fellow wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav tormented the South Africa batsmen in the first three games but de Villiers' decision to attack Chahal appeared to give the rest of the South Africans confidence.

Miller still needed a second chance after he was clean bowled for 7 by Chahal, but off a no-ball.

Miller returned to the crease after his reprieve to construct a match-winning partnership of 72 off 43 balls with Klaasen. Klaasen was inventive to score freely on the leg-side, including one shot when he moved two feet outside his off stump to follow a wide ball and thumped it over midwicket for four.

When Miller did go, this time lbw to Chahal, new man Phehlukwayo took one ball to take a look at the bowling. He then hit a reverse sweep for four off his second delivery, a slog sweep over midwicket for six off his third, and a straight six off his fourth ball to take South Africa racing home.

Updated February 10, 2018