South Africa overcome Deepak Chahar scare to make it 3-0 clean sweep

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South Africa 287 (de Kock 124, van der Dussen 52, Prasidh 3-59) beat India 283 (Kohli 65, Dhawan 61, Chahar 54, Phehlukwayo 3-40, Ngidi 3-58) by four runs

Three-nil, and job well and truly done for South Africa. Their clean sweep over India in the ODIs was completed on the back of a chanceless century from Quinton de Kock and a chancy but classy half-century from Rassie van der Dussen, which carried the hosts to 287 despite a late collapse of 7 for 73. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli then set up India’s chase with fifties, but neither could convert it into a big one. And though No. 7 Deepak Chahar threatened to flip the script with a barrage of boundaries in a knock of 54 off 34 balls – his second successive fifty in ODI cricket – South Africa’s seamers held their nerve and closed out the match.

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Dwaine Pretorius, picked in place of left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, was tasked with defending five off the last over, with India’s last-wicket pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna in the middle. After Prasidh pinched a single first ball, Chahal went for the glory hit and spliced a catch to cover-point, India losing by four runs with four balls unused in their chase.

Chahar had entered in the 38th over, at the fall of Shreyas Iyer’s wicket, with India still needing 93 off 77 balls. Two overs later, Suryakumar Yadav spooned a leading edge to mid-off and Jayant Yadav holed out soon after, but Chahar gave India enough reason to hope.

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Chahar has opened the batting for his state team Rajasthan in India’s domestic 20-over tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and is rated highly for his batting by his Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming. At the Premadasa Stadium in July last year, he pulled off a heist from No. 8, helping India overhaul Sri Lanka’s 275.

At various points on Sunday, Chahar looked like he could pull off another heist. After being on 20 off 17 balls, he sized up Pretorius’ cutters and walloped him for back-to-back sixes. When Lungi Ngidi missed his yorkers, Chahar carved him for back-to-back fours. He notched up a 31-ball fifty, but just when the target was seemingly within India’s grasp, he was undone by Ngidi’s cutter in the 48th over. India needed ten off 17 balls at that point, but they blew it under pressure.

Full report to follow

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