Rajkot: Quinton de Kock slammed 103 off 118-balls and Morne Morkel claim four wickets to help South Africa beat India by 18 runs in Rajkot on Sunday.
Chasing a challenging target of 271 to win, India started off well and remained on track, until the 40th over when their batsmen threw in the towel. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli slammed half-centuries and MS Dhoni scored a gritty 47, but their efforts were not enough from stopping South Africa to take a 2-1 lead in the ongoing five-match series
Rohit has been in terrific form and it was on display once again at Rajkot. Right from the beginning of India's chase, the right-handed batsman was playing the ball from the middle of the bat. He pierced the gaps at will, and his timing remained accurate on almost all the strokes that he played.
Rohit's innings of 65 was studded with seven boundaries and two sixes, but the highlight of his 27th half-century was a massive hit for a six over mid-off, coming down the wicket a little bit to Dale Steyn
Rohit's dismissal in the 24th over brought another surprise, with Dhoni striding out in the middle at No. 4. The captain and his deputy solidified India's stand in the game, but South Africa showed they were wiser.
Shikhar Dhawan was expected to make most of the opportunity of playing in favourable conditions, but he looks far from settled at the moment. There were no aggressive strokes; however, Dhawan did manage to hit a few in the gaps.
Dhawan edged one behind to the wicketkeeper off Morne Morkel, falling to the lanky South African pacer once again.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock hit 103 as South Africa made 270-7 after electing to bat.
The 22-year-old opener-wicketkeeper took advantage of a flat pitch to notch up his seventh one-day century -- the fourth against India -- with the help of 11 boundaries and a six.
Faf du Plessis (60) shared a third-wicket stand of 118 with de Kock to lift the tourists to 205-2 in the 39th over when India hit back with three quick wickets to make it 210-5 in the 41st.
Faf, who was caught off a Mohit Sharma no-ball when on 16, was dismissed by the same bowler to a catch at third-man, triggering the slide.
De Kock was run out in the 40th over after a misunderstanding with his skipper AB de Villiers, who was himself given leg-before in left-arm spinner Axar Patel's next over.
Farhaan Behardien smashed a last-ball six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to return unbeaten on 33.
David Miller, promoted to open the innings with de Kock, scored 33 in a first-wicket partnership of 72 to give the Proteas a sound start, but the Indians kept the run-rate under check.
The Proteas retained the same team for the third successive match, while India brought in leg-spinner Amit Mishra in place of fast bowler Umesh Yadav.
South Africa - 270/7 (de Kock 103, du Plessis 60, Mohit 2-62)
India - 252/6 (Kohli 77, Rohit 65, Morkel 4-39)
Result - South Africa won by 18 runs
MOM - Morne Morkel (South Africa)