KL Rahul on Thursday became only the second Indian captain to win an ODI series against South Africa, joining Virat Kohli in the elite list. India defeated South Africa by 78 runs in the series decider at the Boland Park in Paarl on Thursday to wrap up the series 2-1. Sanju Samson hit a maiden international century, smasing 108 runs with the help of six fours and three sixes. While Samson’s performance in the third and final ODI stood out, young batter Sai Sudharsan introduction to international cricket was another positive for the Indian team.

Sudharsan scored back-to-back half-centuries in the first two games to impress everyone. He also took a stunning catch in the third ODI and was named the “Impact Fielder Of the Series” by India’s fielding coach for his effort.

However, Ajay Ratra, India’s fielding coach, revealed that it was captain KL Rahul, who took six catches in three matches, who decided to give the award to the youngster.

The announcement sparked huge celebrations inside the Indian dressing room.

“There were a few notable catches during the series. Overall, we took 12 catches during the series, with KL Rahul taking six of them. Samson took two – one as a wicketkeeper and other as a fielder. And Sai took a brilliant catch today. It was a tight decision between KL and Sai. I am always tempted to give the award to a wicketkeeper, but KL was generous enough to give the award to Sai,” Ratra said in a video uploaded on BCCI.tv.

Rahul achieved another huge feat on Thursday as he became only second wicketkeeper from India to score 1,000 runs in ODI cricket in a calendar year.

In 27 ODIs this year, KL has scored 1,060 runs at an average of 66.25 and a strike rate of 87.74. He has scored two centuries and seven fifties this year, with the best score of 111*.

16 years back, legendary MS Dhoni had become the first Indian wicketkeeper to accomplish this milestone.

In 2007, Dhoni scored 1,103 runs in 33 ODI innings across 37 matches at an average of 44.12, with a century and seven fifties. In 2008, Dhoni scored 1,097 runs at an average of 57.73, with a century and eight fifties.

2009 was Dhoni’s best year with the bat, scoring 1,198 runs at an average of 70.47, with two centuries and nine fifties. His best score was 124.

(With PTI Inputs)

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