India 326 for 5 (Kohli 101*, Iyer 77, Maharaj 1-30) won South Africa 83 (Jansen 14, Jadeja 5-33, Kuldeep 2-7) by 243 runs
Most of Kohli’s centuries in recent times have had an air of inevitability. Sunday’s innings were the complete opposite. The conditions in Kolkata were difficult and even Kohli had struggled to get the old ball off him. South Africa’s left-arm spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi also challenged Kohli with drifts, drops and spins.
In his first over, Maharaj bowled Shubman Gill (23) with a ripper that hit his outside edge to clip the bail. When Maharaj bowled a similar delivery to Kohli, the ball missed the outside edge. Having got off to a fast start (he was on 17 off 13 balls at one point), Kohli slowed down to avoid spin but navigated that passage of the game to remove the seamers. When Lungi Ngidi returned to the attack in the 35th over, Kohli jumped out of his crease and pushed him for four.
It was Rohit who laid the foundation for the 134-run third-wicket partnership between Kohli and Iyer. The Indian captain ran out of the blocks in the powerplay, making 40 off 24 balls. He dismantled Marco Jansen, this tournament’s most prolific powerplay bowler, and Ngidi, South Africa’s enforcer in the absence of Gerald Coetzee.
Jansen ended up conceding 94 in 9.4 overs for just one wicket. As for Ngidi, he left the field two balls into the end of India’s innings with an injury scare.
South Africa’s problems then filtered into their batting. Quinton de Kock clipped Mohammed Siraj in the second over, while Temba Bavuma was bowled by Jadeja, who got the new ball away beyond the outside edge.
Things were only going to get tougher against the older, softer ball. Jadeja and Mohammed Shami dominated South Africa’s middle order. Jadeja removed Henrich Klaasen and David Miller, while Shami edged Aiden Markram with Test-match line and length. After bringing a couple of deliveries to Markram from the wicket, Shami had one to leave the batsman and kiss the outside edge.