In Stats: India’s ‘Virat’ Decimation of South Africa in ODI Series

Take a look at the ODI series between India and South Africa through numbers.

5 min read
In Stats: India’s ‘Virat’ Decimation of South Africa in ODI Series

In a day and night contest at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, after Shardul Thakur’s 4-wicket haul had helped India skittle out hosts South Africa for 204, captain Virat Kohli took center stage and powered team India’s run chase. Riding on Kohli’s unbeaten 129, India cruised past the target in 32.1 overs, losing only two wickets in the chase, thereby registering a comprehensive win in the final ODI of the six-match series.

With the win on Friday night, India clinched the ODI series 5-1 – India’s first bilateral ODI series win in the Rainbow Nation, which also ended South Africa’s domination of India in recent times.


Demolition Job – As Good as They Come

Team India were playing away from home, had just suffered a defeat in the Test series that preceded, and South Africa hadn’t lost an ODI at home in two years. Team India were unperturbed by all the odds stacked against them and turned in a commanding performance in the series. Virat Kohli’s boys were the superior team not just by a small margin, but by several notches. The numbers illustrate how far apart the two teams were in the series:


If the series summary doesn’t tell you how superior India were, here’s a reminder of the margins by which India beat the hosts in the 5 matches – each one of the wins was India handing the hosts a sound beating.

Only twice previously has India won 5 matches in an overseas bilateral ODI series. Both those were against lesser ranked opponents – against Zimbabwe in 2013 and against Sri Lanka last year. To beat South Africa – who were the top-ranked team in the ICC ODI rankings at the start of the series – should count as a special achievement and be immensely satisfying.


The huge gain for Team India from this tour of South Africa has to be the belief the bowling attack would have gained. After dismissing the hosts every time and collecting all 60 possible wickets in the three Tests, there was no let down in intensity from the bowlers even with the white ball.

The quicks usually provided the early breakthroughs, after which the spin twins – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – strangled and decimated the home team’s middle and lower order. In all, out of possible 60 wickets in the ODI series, India were able to take a total of 53 wickets. – the most they have ever taken in an overseas bilateral ODI series.

Kuldeep and Chahal ran amok in the series, collecting a total of 33 sticks between them, setting a new record for the most wickets taken by Indian spinners in a bilateral ODI series. Only once previously – when Amit Mishra collected 18 scalps in the five-ODI series in Zimbabwe – has an Indian spinner tasted more success than Kuldeep or Chahal has in the series in South Africa.


Virat Kohli Turns Into a Run Machine

Only two batsmen looked at ease in the middle in the entire series – Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. Both batsmen got off to starts every time they walked to the crease; while the former converted only one of those scores to a three-figure score, the Indian captain scored three hundreds – one of them an unbeaten 160.

Watching Kohli bat, one got the feeling spending time at the crease and putting bat to ball was not work anymore. One could see the hunger for runs. One could see a purpose in his eyes. He was desperate to get to the crease and score runs. One got the feeling that he did not want to stop batting. It was as if Virat Kohli was in a trance.

Kohli, whose lowest score in the series was 36, amassed 558 runs in the six innings, in the process setting a new world record for the most runs scored by a batsman in a bilateral ODI series. The earlier record was held by Rohit Sharma, who had scored 491 runs in the 7-match series (one match was washed out) against Australia in 2013.

With due respect to opponents South Africa and without devaluing the runs he has scored, Kohli was scoring runs for fun in this series. There was hardly a phase of play when he looked vulnerable at the crease. Kohli had turned into a run machine.


(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate.)

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