New Delhi, Feb 15: All-rounder Hardik Pandya on Tuesday played a crucial role in India's series-clinching win over South Africa in the 5th ODI. South Africa's hopes of overhauling India's 274 for seven crushed when they lost their first three wickets inside the first 13 overs. Pandya managed to strike vital blows by dismissing JP Duminy and AB de Villiers. Hashim Amla, who played a good innings of 71 and shared partnerships of 62 with David Miller and 39 with Heinrich Klaasen, was run out by a direct hit from Pandya, significantly ending the home team's hopes.
Hardik then assisted Kuldeep Yadav claim his fourth wicket, as he pulled off a unbelievable catch to dismiss Tabraiz Shamsi, who hit the ball between long-off and long-on. Neither Shikhar Dhawan nor Pandya called, which almost result in a collision. However, Dhawan held back a step as Pandya has stuck out his hand to take a one-handed catch. He then smiled, saying "that was mine".
South Africa's coach Ottis Gibson said he has no excuses to offer for the "hiding" his depleted side has taken from a rampaging India, leaving him with a lot to think about going forward.
A 73-run win over the South Africa ensured India their first ever series victory on South African soil across all formats. The Virat Kohli-led team has taken an unassailable 4-1 lead in the six-match ODI series.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma's 17th ODI century ended a run of low scores in South Africa. In 19 previous innings across both Tests and one-day internationals, his previous highest score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an average of 13.11.
He said he had ensured that he stayed in a good frame of mind despite not making big scores.
"I have been enjoying South Africa. It's a good place to play cricket. I knew I didn't have to change a lot and the runs would come," he said.
Watch the video here:
Pandya does it again pic.twitter.com/LE9Zf3zXsJ— Cricket Videos (@cricvideos11) February 13, 2018