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South Africa vs India 2018: Virat Kohli's DRS reprieve is SK Turning Point of the match

Ram Kumar
4.53K   //    08 Feb 2018, 00:15 IST

Virat Kohli DRS
Kohli's decision to challenge the on-field umpire's call turned out to be a huge moment in the game

Plenty has been said about the Decision Review System (DRS). While the vast majority of cricket aficionados feel that the necessary technology is reducing umpiring errors, there are still plenty of naysayers who argue that the system is eroding the importance of the on-field umpires.

The third ODI between South Africa and India at Cape Town presented yet another example of the significance of DRS in the modern game. The beneficiary of the system was a certain Virat Kohli. With India's batting fortunes largely revolving around their captain, his wicket was the most prized scalp in the match.

Were it not for the availability of DRS, Kohli would have been dismissed for a three-ball duck and India would have been reduced to 4/2 in the third over of the game. Instead, the star batsman utilised the review system and survived the contentious leg-before call. He went on to play 156 more balls and scored an unbeaten 160 to set up the match for the visitors.

DRS comes to Kohli's rescue

Rohit Sharma's poor form in the tour continued this time as well. He was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the first over of the match. The 22-year old fast bowler came very close to grabbing the key wicket of Kohli in his next over.

Catch Kohli's tryst with DRS in the highlights of India's innings here

In the third ball of the third over of the innings, Rabada got one to straighten. In an attempt at playing a flick shot, Kohli walked across and missed the ball. Considering the right-hander's shuffle and the trajectory of the ball, umpire Ian Gould raised the dreaded finger.

As he would normally do on most occasions, Kohli did not immediately send the decision upstairs. After a brief discussion with batting partner Shikhar Dhawan, he signalled for a review. To everyone's surprise, there was a massive spike on Ultra-Edge as the ball passed the bat.

Kohli had gotten an inside-edge. Even as the third umpire recommended him to reverse his decision, Gould shook his head in dismay. For he had been sure of the veracity of his judgement. Meanwhile, a visibly relieved Kohli fended off Rabada's verbal tirade and set about making the most of his DRS induced reprieve.

Kohli special subdues South Africa

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli's scintillating century paved the way for a dominant Indian triumph

Having been denied of a prized scalp by DRS, Rabada began to lose his focus. A loose delivery down the leg-side allowed Kohli to pick up an easy boundary. A fierce contest was developing within the match. The Indian skipper unfurled an authoritative pull shot off the pacer's short ball as if to indicate that he was going to control the proceedings from that moment onwards.

Extra Cover: Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli's majestic partnership is SK Play of the Day

With Dhawan targeting the boundaries on a regular basis, Kohli did not get sucked into the momentum and instead chose to build a partnership by playing the supporting role. As the left-hander reeled off one boundary after another, he kept the scoreboard ticking by rotating the strike. Whenever there was an opportunity to collect a boundary, the right-hander duly obliged.

When Dhawan was dismissed, the partnership had rose to 140 runs. The second-wicket stand helped establish the platform for Kohli to anchor the innings. Following the left-hander's departure, the captain took on the aggressor's role. The manner in which he was able to keep the runs flowing without taking any undue risks stood as testament to his sheer class.

Kohli continued on his merry ways and remained unbeaten on 160. His masterful knock, also the highest score by an Indian batsman in ODIs in South Africa, helped the visitors reach a formidable total of 303. This was the first instance of India registering a total of more than 300 in an ODI against the Proteas on South African soil.

Defending a massive target, the Indian bowlers went about their task in a professional manner. The wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal continued their remarkable form by collecting eight wickets between them.

Upon razing South Africa for just 179, India pocketed a comprehensive 124-run victory and extended their lead in the six-match series to 3-0. The match could very well have turned out quite differently had Kohli not decided to use the DRS at a pivotal stage.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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