CENTURION, Jan 23 (PTI): Yusuf Pathan threatened to single-handedly pull off a sensational victory with a brutal 70-ball 105 before India suffered a heart-breaking 33-run defeat against South Africa in a thrilling fifth and final cricket ODI to lose the series 2-3 here today.
Yusuf, who came out in the 14th over when India were tottering at 74 for six, hit eight stunning sixes and as many fours to raise visions of a historic series-clinching win for India only to fail short at the end.
Chasing a target of 268 for a win under Duckworth-Lewis Rule after the match was curtailed to a 46-over-a-side affair due to a rain interruption, India were shot out for 234 in 40.2 overs at SuperSport Park here.
With today’s loss, India failed to realise their dreams of recording first ever ODI series win on South African soil besides ending the nearly one-and-a-half month tour on a losing note. The three-match Test series before the one-dayers had ended in a 1-1 draw.
Put into bat, South Africa scored 250 for nine in 46 overs with in-form Hashim Amla contributing a brilliant unbeaten 116 but India had to chase 268 after adjustments were made under the D/L method.
Indian top order batsmen were on the self-destruct mode as they fell like a pack of cards with most of them being dismissed while playing rash shots when put under pressure by a disciplined South African bowlers.
By the 12th over, half of the Indian batsmen have gone back to the hut with just 60 runs on board and at that stage it looked like India would be shot out below 100.
Yusuf made a sensational rearguard action with his second ODI century, which he hit from 68 balls, but the dice had already been loaded too much in favour of South Africa.
He was the ninth batsman out after taking India closer to the target from a hopeless situation. At one stage, it looked like he will take India to victory just like he did against New Zealand in Bangalore last month when he hit an unbeaten 123 to win the ODI for India.
Zaheer batted sensibly to give company to Yusuf. He shared 100 runs with Yusuf from just 12.4 overs for the ninth wicket and he was the last man out for a 58-ball 24.
Opener Parthiv Patel was the other main contributor for India with a quickfire 34-ball 38 with the help of six fours.
Suresh Raina made 11 and he was the only other recognised Indian batsman who scored in double digits.
Rohit Sharma (5) was the first to go for an eight-ball five as he played an expansive cover drive without moving his feet to drag Lonwabo Tsotsobe delivery to the stumps in the fourth over and end the series on a disappointing note.
South Africa: Smith c Pathan b Zaheer 7, Amla not out 116, van Wyk c and b Yuvraj 56, de Villiers st Dhoni b Yuvraj 11, Duminy c and b Munaf 35, Faf du Plessis b Munaf 8, Botha c Dhoni b Munaf 2, Peterson b Zaheer 4, Steyn run out 0, Morkel run out 0, Tsotsobe not out 0. Extras: (LB-6, W-5) 11. Total: (For 9 wkts in 46 overs) 250. Fall of wickets: 1/16 2/113 3/129 4/231 5/242 6/244 7/250 8/250 9/250. Bowling: Zaheer 9-1-47-2, Munaf 8-0-50-3, Chawla 7-0-32-0, Harbhajan 8-0-33-0, Yusuf 2-0-10-0, Yuvraj 8-0-45-2, Rohit 2-0-14-0, Raina 2-0-13-0.
India: Patel c du Plessis b Morkel 38, Rohit b Tsotsobe 5, Kohli c de Villiers b Morkel 2, Dhoni c Smith b Morkel 5, Yuvraj c Duminy b Steyn 8, Raina c Morkel b Steyn 11, Yusuf c du Plessis b Morkel 105, Harbhajan c Duminy b Botha 13, Chawla b Peterson 8, Zaheer c Morkel b Tsotsobe 24, Munaf not out 4. Extras: (lb 2, w 7, nb 2) 11. Total: (10 wickets; 40.2 overs) 234. Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-31, 3-45, 4-60, 5-60, 6-74, 7-98, 8-119, 9-219, 10-234. Bowling: Steyn 9-1-32-2, Tsotsobe 7.2-0-57-2, Morkel 8-0-52-4, Botha 8-0-33-1, Peterson 7-0-45-1, F du Plessis 1-0-13-0.