India came close to a comfortable win in the third and final ODI of the series, but South African bowlers clung to their nerves under pressure to scrap out a four-run win.
Requiring 10 runs off the last three overs, India lost three wickets for five runs to end up at 283 all out. No. 7 Deepak Chahar beat 54 off 34 balls to bring India close but could not finish the match, dropping the first ball of the 48th over. Jasprit Bumrah (12) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2) too fell soon enough, and South Africa completed a 3-0 cover-up in the ODI series, having won the Test series 2-1.
Chahar had revived the track after India looked down and out at 210/6 in 39.5 overs, with all the expert batsmen gone and only 10.1 overs left in which to score 78 runs.
But Chahar counterattacked, getting his first four off an outside boundary off Lungi Ngidi in the 41st over before striking the next ball for four with a positive pull. Yuzvendra then hit Dwaine Pretorius for successive sixers in the 44th over, one over midwicket and the other over point, to lift hopes in the Indian camp. He continued to assemble the boundaries and reached his 50 off 31 balls.
Yet, with only 10 runs needed off three overs, there was another turn as Chahar fell to a slow and broad ball from Ngidi — he went for a big shot and only sent it up, and Pretorius took a good catch. Only two runs came off the 48th over, and India lost their ninth wicket when Bumrah, going for a four, could not clear Temba Bavuma at mid-off — 281/9, seven needed off nine balls. Chahal was the last man out, going for a pull off Pretorius but only throwing a catch on the off side.
India’s trail had been put on track by Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, who added 98 runs for the second wicket.
Untimely, India had reassembled to bowl South Africa out for 287, taking their last seven wickets for 73 runs in 14.2 overs.
Opener Quinton de Kock hit an attacking century and Rassie van der Dussen continued his exalted form with a 52-run knock. De Kock struck 124 off 130 balls and added 144 runs for the fourth wicket with van der Dussen.
Brief scores: South Africa 287 (de Kock 124, van der Dussen 52; Prasidh 3/59); India 283 (Kohli 65, Dhawan 61, Chahar 54; Phehlukwayo 3/40, Ngidi 3/58).