Thanks to the dominant show of these two batsmen, India chased South Africa 269/8 comfortably with 27 balls to go. India had no difficulty whatsoever in their chase even though they lost Rohit Sharma (20) and Shikhar Dhawan (35) fairly cheaply on what was a batting-friendly surface.
Earlier in the day, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to have a bat. South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and if was not for du Plessis’ 120, their challenge would have been far weaker.
Du Plessis got good support from Chris Morris (37) and Andile Phehlukwayo (27*). The 74- and 56–run stands for the sixth and seventh wickets gave the Proteas a fighting total.
India played two spinners in this match – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – and both gave a good account of themselves, returning 3/34 and 2/45 respectively.
In their chase, India were in command right from the word go, however, Sharma and Dhawan’s wickets pegged them back a little briefly.
If fans had any doubts as regards India’s chances, Kohli and Rahane dissipated those with a record third-wicket 189-run stand against the Proteas to lead the tourists to their first-ever win in Durban.
Both batted with great control and the South African bowlers looked completely hopeless against them. Rahane (79, 24th fifty) and Kohli (112, 33rd ton) fell towards the end of the chase but it was only a formality for the visitors from there.
Hardik Pandya (3) and MS Dhoni (4) closed out the match for India.
Player-of-the-Match Kohli was pleased as punch in the post-match presentation. “It was quite special. First match of the series is important. We wanted to take the momentum of the Test win [at Johannesburg] into this and when we restricted South Africa to 269 on this sort of a pitch, we were happy. Very happy for Jinx [Ajinkya Rahane]. Jinx is a top-class player. We understood fast bowling was going to be a big factor on this tour. He was superb, he took on the fast bowlers,” he said.
The second match of the series will be played on Sunday at SuperSport Park in Centurion.