Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar heaped praise on Indian skipper Virat Kohli who scored another ton to take his side to a victory in the first One-Day International at Kingsmead, Durban. Kohli had a crucial partnership with Ajinkya Rahane that almost took India over the line. Akhtar has always been an admirer of his game and has hailed Kohli in the past as well.
South African skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat first, the top order couldn’t justify the decision and fumbling and stumbling their way the hosts managed to score 269.
The Indian spinners reduced the flow of runs in the middle overs and didn’t allow the batsmen to score freely. While almost everyone else failed to convert the starts Faf stood there till the last part, scored a hundred and ensured they had a competitive total on the board.
Team India had to chase 270 in their allocated 50 overs and it was considered a tougher task since Durban had been a fortress of sorts for the Proteas and they were in the middle of an unbeaten home streak spanning 17 matches.
The Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started in fine fashion and scored quick runs against the likes of Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.
Rohit was the first to be dismissed for a score of 20 after playing an ordinary shot. Dhawan, however, looked solid in the middle before he was run out by Aiden Markram who hit the stumps from a fair distance.
The Chase Master
The pressure was mounting on the Indian skipper and after running Dhawan out with a suicidal call, he had to take the team home. When under the pump he always rises to the occasion and that’s what happened, he built a partnership along with Ajinkya Rahane worth 189 to guide India to safety before MS Dhoni scored the winning runs for the umpteenth time.
Kohli was once again at his best during a run chase and brought up his 33rd ODI ton, the first in South Africa. Lauding the Indian skipper’s effort Akhtar wrote, “Another super run-chase by @imVkohli. When it comes to chases it’s either him or a Cheetah. Well done!! Hope youngsters pick this trait of @imVkohli”.