With India needing 158 runs in 26.5 overs, and Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni – two of the country's greatest chasers of all-time – at the crease, you would have bet your house on India easing to victory and taking a 2-1 lead in the Freedom series against South Africa.

However, in this 3rd ODI match in Rajkot, which swung one way and then the other, before firmly perching in the visitors' end, Dhoni and Kohli failed to produce those finishing powers that they are renowned for, with India, as a result, collapsing spectacularly to hand South Africa victory.

Chasing 271, after South Africa had posted 270/8 in their 50 overs, thanks to a Quinton de Kock hundred, it was the kind of opening we have come to expect now from India, with Rohit Sharma looking smooth as silk, while Shikhar Dhawan was rougher than the sea during high tide.

There was no surprise when Dhawan (13, 29b, 2x4) fell to Morne Morkel – the third time he has picked up the left-hander in this series – with Virat Kohli, thankfully, coming in at his favourite No.3.

Kohli and Rohit put on a strong partnership of 72 runs together at nearly a run a ball, and even if the latter fell after a glorious 65 (74b, 7x4, 2x6), the game was perfectly setup for Kohli and Dhoni.

The duo began well, picking the ones and twos comfortably to keep that required run rate well within reach. However, the game turned South Africa's way in a brilliant spell 30-40 overs spell, with Imran Tahir, Kaagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel putting the skids on, and then some.

Suddenly from around six an over, the required run rate jumped to nearly nine, with matters made worse as Dhoni (47, 61b, 5x4) fell to Morkel in over number 42.

With India needing 78 from the final eight overs, it was all down to Kohli (77, 99b, 5x4), as Suresh Raina came and went again, but the pressure told as Morkel (10-1-39-4) struck again, sending Kohli and Rahane back off consecutive deliveries, to put an end to India's hopes of victory, as the home team finished on 252/6.

South Africa began their innings quite well, with Quinton De Kock and David Miller, asked to open in a bid to try and get the left-hander back in form, looking quite comfortable.

India's plan to bowl from around the wicket to De Kock, to try and prevent the batsman from playing his favourite shots square of the offside did not work, as De Kock solved that puzzle quickly to get that scoreboard moving.

The two left-handers took South Africa to 71 in 13 overs, before Harbhajan Singh finally got the breakthrough, as Miller (33, 41b, 4x4) got a thick outside edge through to short third man, with Ajinkya Rahane taking a smart catch low down.

Hashim Amla, down to No.3, did not last too long either, stumped by Dhoni off Mishra, but then De Kock and Faf Du Plessis came together and put on a nice partnership, worth 118 runs.

Both batsmen played intelligent cricket, picking up the boundaries when they were on offer, and keeping that score ticking along, with only the searing heat in Rajkot acting as a deterrent.

The innings turned in the space of nine balls, from the fifth ball of the 39th over to the first ball of the 41st over, as Du Plessis, De Kock and AB De Villiers all fell.

Du Plessis (60, 63b, 6x4) threw his wicket away really, going for a second consecutive scoop shot boundary, but only finding the top edge, which flew to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at short third man.

De Kock (103, 118b, 11x4, 1x6), who had just about inched to his seventh ODI hundred – fourth against India – then was run out, unable to put one foot ahead of the other as he struggled to cope with the heat.

The third, and biggest wicket, was taken by Axar Patel, who trapped De Villiers in front of the wicket, to put India in the driver's seat.

From there it was a struggle for South Africa, who scored just 60 runs in the next 59 balls to get to that 270 mark, which looked below par, only for India to falter in the chase.

Watch the Highlights of the match HERE and HERE