Returning to the Indian side for the series opener against South Africa, KL Rahul guided the Rohit Sharma-less side to an impressive win over the hosts on Sunday. Pacers Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan sparked a shocking batting collapse of the Proteas in the 1st One Day International (ODI) at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Under the pump for not taking a wicket in his first 3 ODI appearances for India, fast bowler Arshdeep handed Reeza Hendricks an eight-ball duck to open his account in the 50-over format.

Arshdeep Singh (R) celebrates with KL Rahul after dismissing South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo (unseen) during the 1st ODI cricket match between South Africa and India at The Wanderers Stadium (AFP)

Arshdeep was on the money for the visitors with his new ball burst as the pacer dismissed Van der Dussen for a golden duck on the next ball. The in-form speedster then bagged the wickets of Tony de Zorzi (28) and Heinrich Klaasen (6) before getting rid of Andile Phehlukwayo to seal his maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket. From not taking a single wicket in 3 ODIs, speed merchant Arshdeep now has five wickets and career-best figures of 5/37 to his name in first four games of his 50-over format career.

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Arshdeep scripts history against Proteas

Thanks to Arshdeep’s bowling masterclass, Aiden Markram’s South Africa side folded for 116 in 27.3 overs. Debutant Sai Sudharsan opened the innings for India and scored 55 while Shreyas Iyer smashed another brilliant half-century to help India register an eight-wicket win over South Africa. Speaking at the post-match presentation, pacer Arshdeep credited Rahul for helping him stage a memorable comeback.

‘I would thank KL Rahul bhai’

“I feel a little sore (now) but loving this moment. Thank God and the team management. It was a little different than the normal grounds as I was running out of breath. I would thank KL Rahul bhai as he said you have to come back and get that fifer. I guess it is about enjoying this moment,” Arshdeep said. Player of the Match Arshdeep also became the first Indian fast bowler to take an ODI fifer against South Africa in the series opener.

“Personally it feels good, I am enjoying my role. Our team’s main motto is adaptability. Whether I open or bowl first-change, I’m happy representing my country. It was quite hot as well. I was playing a 50-over game after a year. But it all paid off, and after my five-for, I feel very fresh,” the Indian pacer explained at the break. Arshdeep-starrer Team India will meet hosts South Africa in the series decider on Tuesday at St George’s Park in Gqeberha.