Paarl [South Africa], January 21 (ANI): Rishabh Pant scored a career best 85 and skipper KL Rahul scored 55 as visitors set 288-run target for hosts here at Boland Park, Paarl on Friday.
KL Rahul won the toss and chose to bat first and he along with experienced opener Shikhar Dhawan gave India a quick start with the southpaw being the more aggressive of the two. The opening duo of Rahul and Dhawan took India past the 50-run mark in the ninth over.
Skipper Rahul got a life when he was on 8 as he was dropped by Janneman Malan at the gully of Lungi Ngidi's batting. Spin was introduced by South African Temba Bavuma as early as eighth over by bringing Aiden Markram in the attack. In his third over Markram gave Proteas the breakthrough dismissing opener Shikhar Dhawan for 29 who played a slog sleep and caught in the deep mid-wicket by Sisanda Magala. Dhawan-Rahul had put on 63 runs for the opening wicket.
In the next over Team India was dealt with another blow as Virat Kohli was dismissed without troubling the scorers as Keshav Maharaj dismissed him to a soft dismissal caught by captain Temba Bavuma towards the off-side for a five-ball duck.
After Kohli's dismissal Rishabh Pant joined skipper KL Rahul in the middle. Pant and Rahul soon were involved in a terrible mix-up and Rahul could have been run out but the South Africans made a mess of it giving India a relief as they could have been three wickets down.
After that the Rahul-Pant duo did not look back started scoring runs at a brisk pace by hitting boundaries as well as rotating strikes and taking India to triple figure mark in the 20th over. The duo struck a 50-run partnership in quick time and Rishabh Pant outscored his captain.
The hosts desperately needed a breakthrough and Bavuma introduced left arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi into the attack but Pant welcomed him with consecutive boundaries of his first two balls. Shamsi gave away 14 runs in his very first over and Rishabh Pant notched up his fourth ODI half-century.
At the score of 46 Rahul got yet another life as he was dropped in the point by Markram of Andile Phehlukwayo's bowling. In the 27th over India reached the 150-run mark and the Rahul-Pant duo notched up a century partnership. KL Rahul too notched up his tenth ODI half-century.
Pant kept on hitting the boundaries to keep the scoreboard moving and in process went past his highest ODI score of 78. The115-run partnership was broken as KL Rahul became the first ODI victim of medium pacer Sisanda Magala caught in the mid-wicket of Rassie van der Dussen. Rahul scored a 79-ball 55.
In the very next over left arm spinner Shamsi was once again introduced into the attack and he got the wicket of dangerous Pant who was caught in the long on by Adien Markram for his career best 85 of 71 balls hitting 10 fours and two sixes.
Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer then came in and took India's total beyond the 200-run mark. Shamsi got his second wicket dismissing Shreyas leg before wicket for 11 with India losing half of its side for 207 in the 37th over of the match.
Shardul Thakur joined Venkatesh after the fall of Shreyas' wicket and the duo steadies India's ship but the 32-run partnership was broken as Andile Phehlukwayo dismissed Venkatesh who was brilliantly stumped by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock for 22.
Thakur kept on scoring boundaries to keep India's scoreboard moving and also take the total beyond 250-run mark. Ravichandran Ashwin and Thakur batted well to take India's total to 287/6 in 50 overs. Thakur-Ashwin put on 48-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
Brief scores: India 287/6 (Rishabh Pant 85, KL Rahul 55; Tabraiz Shamsi 2/57, Sisanda Magala 1/) vs SA (ANI)